AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate unanimously approved a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to create a “Hire American/Hire Maine” bill in an initial vote on Thursday. LD 268, “An Act To Create a Credit under the Commercial Forestry Excise Tax for Landowners Using Businesses Based in the United States,” creates tax credit for companies that prioritize the hiring of Maine residents. The goal is to incentivize the hiring of Maine workers over cheaper Canadian labor in the Maine woods.
“Maine loggers deserve a chance to do the work in their own backyard. All too often, hardworking Mainers lose out to Canadians loggers, who are often cheaper due to the exchange rate and the fact they can get health care through their government. This depresses wages for everyone,” said President Jackson. “Enough is enough. It’s time to prioritize the hiring of Maine taxpayers for this work. It’s good for families, communities and the economy at large.”
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 but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage last year.
LD 268 received unanimous support in the Legislature’s Taxation Committee. It will now go to the House of Representatives for additional votes.