Legislature Considering Tying Employers To Trees And Poking Them With Sticks Whenever They Need Money

Senator Troy Jackson

Senator Troy JacksonAUGUSTA, Maine — A bill designed to keep call centers in Maine from exporting jobs overseas is working its way through the Legislature amid concerns from opponents who say the bill would do the opposite. LD 1710, An Act to Retain Call Centers in Maine, would require the Department of Labor to keep track of call centers that have relocated from Maine to a foreign country. Employers on that list would be ineligible for state grants, loans or tax benefits for a period of five years. It would require employers who have received state aid for the call centers and moved employees overseas to repay a portion of the benefits. It also authorizes a fine of $10,000 be assessed for call center owners who don’t notify the state of a relocation within four months and requires that all call center work contracted by state agencies be done within the state. Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, who sponsored the bill, said his intent is to keep Maine jobs in Maine while protecting taxpayer investments in economic development. ”I don’t understand the opposition to this bill,” said Jackson on Tuesday. “This is about protecting taxpayer dollars. I think this makes sure we’re using companies that want to stay in Maine for a number of years.” (read more at the Bangor Daily News)