Jackson proposes ‘Hire American’ tax credit to promote Maine workers

Posted: January 22, 2018 | Front Page, Senator Jackson

AUGUSTA —Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash introduced legislation to establish a “Hire American” tax credit for businesses in the logging industry that hire American residents. LD 1744, “An Act To Create the Hire American Tax Credit for Businesses That Hire Residents of the United States” seeks to incentivize the hiring of Maine workers.

The bill received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Taxation Committee on Monday.

“I have always believed that if there’s work that needs to be done in our state, Mainers should have a chance to do it. If there’s economic activity happening in Maine, our businesses, workers and communities should benefit from it,” said Sen. Jackson.

“I’m a logger by trade. At home in Aroostook County, I’ve seen countless foreign loggers cross the border every single day to work in our forests. Canadian trucking companies come to Maine to haul wood and then return home. If Mainers had those jobs, they would have invested their wages in their communities and in our state. Instead, all the benefit of the economic activity in the woods left our state. It wasn’t right, and we need to do something about it.”

The bill is an extension of Sen. Jackson’s efforts last year on behalf of loggers, truckers and others in the forest product industry who face unfair international competition in the Maine woods. Maine loggers and truckers struggle to compete with Canadian labor that is much cheaper due to the currency exchange rate and the national health care system.

Many of these large land-owning companies already receive a tax break from the state government. Sen. Jackson believes that if they receive a tax break, these companies ought to hire from the taxpayers who ultimately subsidize these breaks. His hope is that a tax credit will reward companies for doing right by Maine people.

Sen. Jackson’s bill faces further action in the Committee on Taxation and votes in the House and Senate.