AUGUSTA—On Wednesday, Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash met with representatives from the Maine Credit Union League and Maine Bankers Association to discuss his legislation and existing efforts to support federal workers living in Maine, who are affected by the shutdown in Washington.
Jackson’s proposal — modeled after legislation recently passed in Connecticut — would provide a state guarantee on private loans from banks and credit unions to federal government employees living in Maine, who have been required to work without pay.
“This is a prime example of Mainers looking out for each other. If the federal government won’t step up, Maine people will – and that’s not limited just to legislative leaders,” said President Jackson. “During the shutdown, we’ve seen everyday Mainers and small businesses step up to lend a helping hand. Whether it’s restaurants offering free or discounted meals or private citizens partnering to create a one-stop-shop online resource for federal employees.”
If passed by the Legislature, the bill would provide a state guarantee for private loans in an amount one month’s net pay, up to $5,000 per federal employee. The hope is to provide a stopgap measure so Mainers don’t fall too behind on their mortgage payment, rent and other basic expenses while working without pay. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 Mainers are working without pay. Congress has already passed legislation guaranteeing that these workers will receive back pay once the federal government reopens.
“Credit unions are always in the business of ‘people helping people’ in good times and in bad, but our services become even more meaningful when our members face challenging situations like the federal government shutdown,” said Todd Mason, President/CEO of the Maine Credit Union League. “Credit unions across the state have already implemented special programs and loan offerings to assist. Through this unique partnership, credit unions and other institutions will be able to do even more.”
“We encourage impacted customers to reach out to their financial institutions if they need assistance. Our member banks across Maine are working with impacted customers depending upon each individual’s financial circumstances,” said Christopher Pinkham, President of the Maine Bankers Association. “We applaud our members for helping their fellow Mainers during this period of hardship.”
Bills submitted for consideration after deadline must be approved by a majority of the 10-member Legislative Council. President Jackson’s proposal will go before the Council today at 1:30 p.m.