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In 2020, the federal government expanded the child tax credit to help ease the burden on families during the pandemic. While voting to extend it for a couple of years, Congress did not renew this for the 2023 tax year.

With rising inflation and many families struggling to make ends meet, it’s crucial that our state government step in to help where it can. A new bill introduced to the Legislature will do just that.

LD 1544, An Act to Improve Economic Security for Maine Children by Establishing the Maine Dependent Tax Credit, would create a new, statewide child tax credit to replace the current tax exemption.

This credit would:

  • Be available for a taxpayer with a dependant who has lived with them for at least 6 months of the tax year, or who was born during the tax year, and for whom the taxpayer has provided more than 50 percent of that dependent's financial support during the tax year;

  • Be fully refundable (unlike the federal tax credit) and may not be counted as income, an asset, or a resource for purposes of state or municipal benefits;

  • Be adjusted each year for inflation, with the 2023 credit resting at $350 for each dependent.

This bill is an important step forward in ensuring that Maine’s taxpayers have the support they need to help raise and feed their families. We encourage the Legislature to pass this bill!

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In 2020, roughly seventy-eight percent of eligible Maine voters cast their ballots in the November election. Voter participation in that general election placed Maine among a handful of states to register the highest turnout in the nation. Now lawmakers are looking to bring even more eligible voters into the fold.

Representative Benjamin Collings has introduced LD 1239: "An Act to Make General Election Day a State Holiday and to Allow Certain Employees an Opportunity to Vote"

The proposal would:

  • designate Election Day as a state holiday.

  • establish a requirement that employers provide an employee three consecutive hours in which to vote on the day of the general election.

  • direct employers to provide employees paid time off sufficient to allow them three consecutive hours in which to vote.

  • direct the Secretary of State to prepare and supply employers with a notice of the aforementioned requirements to be posted in the workplace at least ten days before each general election.

LD 1239 would provide employees greater flexibility to take part in general elections and have their voices heard on critical issues affecting their communities. This legislation would go a long way to support employees who struggle with taking time off from work in order to vote.

Democracy works best when all eligible voters are able to participate in the electoral process. We urge lawmakers to pass this bill and make general elections more accessible to working Mainers.

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In Maine, we owe our thriving economy to the hard working people in our workforce. Their contributions to businesses across the state are the main driver of many of our growing industries.

But for many working Mainers, navigating the realities of their personal lives can often be complicated by uncertainties at work. For the thousands of workers in food service, hospitality and other industries, inhumane scheduling practices have become all too common. Many are given little to no notice about a change in their work schedule, thereby affecting previous plans for childcare, transportation, and other factors in their personal life.

To remedy this issue, Senator Michael Tipping of Penobscot has introduced LD 1190: "An Act to Ensure a Fair Workweek by Requiring Notice of Work Schedules." This bill requires employers who employ 250 or more employees worldwide to provide hourly employees at least 2 weeks' prior notice of the employees' work schedules, with compensation owed for schedule changes under certain circumstances.

Among other provisions, the bill would also:

  1. Require employers to keep certain business records for at least 3 years.

  2. Allow the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards to investigate possible violations of the law and receive complaints of possible violations from the public.

  3. Install a fine of $50 per day for any noncompliance by an employer.

LD 1190 would support some of our most vulnerable working Mainers by protecting their well-being in the workplace and ensuring their autonomy when they are off the clock. We look forward to seeing its passage in the Maine Legislature.

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