Officials say Carbonite’s decision to trim its workforce at a Lewiston call center over the last few years while still taking advantage of a state tax incentive program doesn’t violate the program’s terms.
Doug Ray of the Maine Department of Economic And Community Development says that’s because the company gets the benefits of the Pine Tree Development Zone program for every job it adds to the economy, even if the company is offering fewer jobs this year than it did last year.
“When they came in here they had a baseline of zero. So anything above zero, when they would not be here but for this program, that we look at that as a win for the state,” he says.
The Boston-based online computer backup company opened the Lewiston office in 2007, and by 2015 it had more than 350 jobs that qualified for the program. Now, the Lewiston Sun-Journal reports, it has fewer than 180.
The company told the paper the jobs weren’t cut but were lost through attrition — though at the same time, it’s been adding new jobs at a call center in Jamaica.
“We can confirm that no Carbonite employee has lost their job in Lewiston as a result of Carbonite’s customer care operations beginning in Jamaica,” a spokesperson for Carbonite said in an email. “Natural attrition and operational efficiencies as part of Carbonite’s transformation to business-business company are the key contributing factors to a drop in headcount over time. Carbonite remains committed to providing great jobs and growth opportunities to the Lewiston community.”
State Sen. Nate Libby, who represents Lewiston, told the paper it was “inappropriate” that the company should still be receiving the benefits, and suggested it might make sense to revise the program.