AUGUSTA — A bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to enforce the law and protect Maine wood hauling jobs, received a public hearing in the Legislature’s Taxation Committee on Thursday. LD 2061, “An Act Regarding the Transportation of Products in the Forest Products Industry,” would penalize forest landowners who knowingly break the law by giving Maine wood hauling jobs to Canadians.
“If forest landowners are going to break the rules and cheat Maine taxpayers, then they don’t deserve to get tax incentives subsidized by the hardworking residents of this state,” said Pres. Jackson. “This bill is about putting an end to this practice, where landowners take jobs away from taxpaying Maine residents and give them to Canadians. The Canadian government looks out for their workers, as they should. Maine workers deserve the same protection.”
Under current law, Canadian trucking companies are allowed to bring goods into the U.S. and bring goods back to their country of residence. However, the law explicitly states that Canadian trucking companies cannot transfer goods from one location in Maine to another, taking jobs away from Maine residents. Unfortunately, Canadian trucking companies will enter the state to either pick up goods or make deliveries between the two countries, but along the way, these companies will pick up and deliver goods within the state. This is cabotage and is clearly against the law.
LD 2061 would take away tax incentives for forest landowners who engage in this illegal practice, known as cabotage. Although it’s against the law, the lack of enforcement has led to the widespread use of this practice in the forest products industry.
LD 2061 will undergo additional work in committee.