June 21, 2018

Maine Senate OKs 'Hire American’ tax credit

The Maine Senate voted Wednesday night to enact legislation to establish a "Hire American" tax credit for businesses to prioritize the hiring of Maine residents for Maine jobs.

LD 1744, "An Act To Create the Hire American Tax Credit for Businesses That Hire Residents of the United States" establishes a "Hire American" tax credit for businesses in the logging industry that hire American residents. The Senate bill, which was introduced by Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, passed by a vote of 24-9.

"It's about time we prioritize the hiring of Maine residents and taxpayers for Maine jobs," Jackson said in a news release. "Too often I have seen Maine companies receiving subsidies hire Canadian workers, who are often cheaper due to the Canadian national health care system and the exchange rate. It just isn't right. I'm thrilled we could finally pass this legislation to incentivize Maine companies to hire Maine people and support Maine workers."

The bill is an extension of Jackson's efforts last year on behalf of loggers, truckers and others in the forest product industry who face unfair international competition in the Maine woods. Maine loggers and truckers struggle to compete with Canadian labor that is much cheaper due to the currency exchange rate and the national health care system.

Many of these large land-owning companies already receive a tax break from the state government, according to the news release from the Senate Democratic Office.

"Sen. Jackson believes that if they receive a tax break, these companies ought to hire from the taxpayers who ultimately subsidize these breaks," the news release stated. "His hope is that a tax credit will reward companies for doing right by Maine people.

LD 1744 will now head to the governor, who has 10 days to sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.


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