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October 27, 2017

Jackson plans to appeal panel’s rejection of 'Hire American' tax credit

Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash is hosting a logging discussion in Aroostook County today that will be attended by Gov. Paul LePage. Among the topics is what Jackson characterizes as "unfair international competition" from Canadian loggers.

Fiddlehead Focus reported that Jackson invited LePage to the roundtable discussion in order to hear first-hand about the plight of loggers and logging industry workers in Northern Maine. The discussion is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Friday at the Sly Brook Sno-Riders Club in New Canada.

Fiddlehead Focus reported that in the first session of the 128th Legislature, LePage vetoed LD 1573, a bill sponsored by Jackson with bipartisan support that would have required Mainers to be hired for logging operations on state-owned land and on land owned by people or businesses who received state subsidies.

Jackson has submitted a new bill for consideration in the next legislative session to incentivize the hiring of American loggers and truckers by providing a new "Hire American" tax credit for businesses that hire workers from the United States. But in a 5-5 decision on Thursday by the Legislative Council, which decides which bills will go forward in the second session that begins in January, that bill was rejected along party lines.

In a news release from the Senate Democratic Office, Jackson, whose family has spent five generations logging, said he would appeal the Legislative Council's 5-5 decision to reject his application to submit a bill to establish a "Hire American" tax credit for businesses engaged in the logging industry that hire American citizens.

"I am tired of talking to loggers and truckers in Aroostook County, who tell me that their machines are idle and they're out of work while Canadians cut our wood and truck it back to Canada for milling only to sell it back to the United States," he said in the news release. "Maine should have policies to protect our workers from unfair competition abroad, and it certainly shouldn't sit on the sidelines as families and communities see their fortunes diminish as jobs and income flow across the border."

The Legislative Council will consider appeals at its Nov. 30 meeting.

Jackson alleges that Maine sawmills, pellet mills, loggers and the truckers who haul wood are at a disadvantage competing with Canadians, whose health care, labor and source material parts are subsidized by their national and provincial governments.

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