Sen. Herbig bill would create a tax credit for apprenticeship programs

Posted: February 01, 2019 | Senator Herbig, Taxation

AUGUSTA — A bill submitted by Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, would provide an income tax credit to employers with apprenticeship programs. The bill – LD 70, “An Act To Support the Trades through a Tax Credit for Apprenticeship Programs,” – received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Taxation Committee on Wednesday.

A recent report by the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Development Foundation highlighted the fact that Maine’s workers are aging out of the workforce, with no one to replace them. There are more than 15,000 Mainers employed in manufacturing who are over the age of 55 and 7,000 individuals in the construction industry over 55. By permitting employers of apprentices to receive a tax credit, Sen. Herbig’s bill helps ensure that these good-paying jobs are filled by Mainers and remain in our state.

LD 70 creates a tax credit for employers who have apprentices participating in an approved apprenticeship program. The bill also provides a partial credit for employers with apprentices who work fewer than 2,000 hours during a calendar year.

“We talk a lot about creating new jobs for rural Mainers, but there’s a difference between finding a job to pay the bills and building a meaningful career in which you can advance and succeed for a lifetime,” said Sen. Herbig. “LD 70 helps create better opportunities for Mainers by providing an income tax credit to employers with apprenticeship programs.”

Steve Hewins, president and CEO of Hospitality Maine, spoke in support of LD 70.

“We urgently need to home-grow our own workers to fill these positions today, and to begin to employ the next generation of hospitality industry workers and leaders,” said Hewins. “LD 70 will directly support our [work] by incentivizing more host locations to participate, allowing more apprentices to be included into the program.”

Linda Caprara, Senior Government Relations Specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, also spoke in support of LD 70.

“Workforce is a huge issue for employers in Maine,” said Caprara. “… the Maine State Chamber feels that apprenticeships are very important pathways toward securing a job and ultimately a career.”

LD 70 faces further action in the Taxation Committee as well as votes in the Maine House and Senate.