AUGUSTA — Despite initial strong bipartisan support, Senate Republicans flipped their vote to reject “Hire Maine” legislation and sustain the governor’s veto. The bill – LD 268, “An Act To Create a Credit under the Commercial Forestry Excise Tax for Landowners Using Businesses Based in the United States,” – from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, sought to incentivize the hiring of Maine workers over cheaper Canadian labor in the Maine woods.
“Every day in Augusta we hear politicians talk about supporting Maine businesses and workers but when push comes to shove, it looks like it’s all empty promises. This bill was about rewarding companies that do right by the state and the hardworking people who live here. Too many Canadian companies are getting away with taking jobs away from Mainers and not paying their property taxes. It’s just not right,” said President Jackson. “At the end of the day, I’m always going to stand with hardworking Mainers. In light of today’s vote, I will only fight harder to make sure working people in this state get a fair shake and the first chance at work in their own backyard.”
LD 268 received unanimous support from the Legislature’s Taxation Committee and in both the House and Senate last year.
This bill intended to make sure tax dollars didn’t go to companies that put hiring foreign workers ahead of Mainers. The vote to override the veto fell along party lines with Democrats voting with Maine workers and businesses.
To override a governor’s veto, a bill needs to earn two-thirds support from the lawmakers present in both the Senate and House.