AUGUSTA — A day after voting down a proposal that could give the Portland Sea Dogs tax credits for stadium renovations, the Maine House of Representatives reversed course and voted to support the credits of up to $2 million.

A motion to reject the proposal, L.D. 2258, failed 56-90, after which it passed without a roll call.

The vote came a day after the House voted 62-78 to reject the proposal, with opponents calling the tax credits corporate welfare and saying they wouldn’t be a good use of state funds.

House Minority Leader Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, who made the motion for the House to reconsider Monday’s vote, said the upgrades to Hadlock Field, the home of the Sea Dogs, are required by Major League Baseball and will help Maine’s economy.

The Sea Dogs are a Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and lease the stadium from the city of Portland, which owns it.

“I’m not real big on giving tax incentives to particular groups or anything like that, but when you take all that revenue (that the team brings in) and the economic driver that comes into the state of Maine because of that, if they leave, they take that with them,” Faulkingham said. “That should be the important factor here, how much money they bring into the state of Maine.”


The bill, sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, would allow for an income tax credit worth 20% of a qualified investment in a professional baseball facility in Maine – up to $133,000 per year and $2 million total over a 15-year period.

It comes as the Sea Dogs’ owner, Diamond Baseball Holdings, looks to make $8 million to $10 million in upgrades needed to bring Hadlock Field in line with Major League Baseball’s requirements for its minor league affiliates.

Opponents of the bill reiterated Tuesday the same arguments made earlier in the week during a floor debate, saying Portland is better poised to assist with the cost and the tax revenue could be better spent on other things.

“There’s so much we could do with this money,” said Rep. Cheryl Golek, D-Harpswell. “And this is a billion dollar company … I think we all agree we love them and we don’t want them to go anywhere, but I don’t see there’s a threat of them going anywhere.”

The proposal still needs to be funded and pass additional votes in the House and Senate before being sent to Gov. Janet Mills. A spokesperson for the governor said Tuesday that she supports the bill.

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