AUGUSTA — A bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to create a “Hire American” tax credit for companies that prioritize the hiring of Maine residents, received unanimous support from the Legislature’s Taxation Committee on Tuesday. LD 268, “An Act To Create a Credit under the Commercial Forestry Excise Tax for Landowners Using Businesses Based in the United States,” would incentivize the hiring of Maine workers over cheaper Canadian labor in the Maine woods.
“All Mainers are asking for is a fair shot to do the work in their own backyard. Too many workers are losing out to Canadian labor, which is cheaper due to a national health care system and the exchange rate,” said President Jackson. “This is an attempt to reward Maine companies for doing the right thing, following the rules and hiring Maine workers. I’m grateful to the Taxation Committee for uniting behind this bill regardless of party affiliation.”
To be eligible for this tax credit, companies must be based in the U.S. and U.S. residents must make up 75 percent of their workforce. The bill also has a “recapture” provision that allows the State Tax Assessor to rescind the tax credit if the state determines that the company in question did not meet the conditions of the credit.
President Jackson sponsored similar legislation that passed in the Legislature last year but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage.
LD 268 will now go before the full Legislature for additional votes.