Party-line vote in Maine Senate sends earned-income tax credit bill to LePage

Posted April 04, 2013, at 3:19 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Voting along party lines, the Maine Senate voted 19-16 Thursday in favor of a bill that would expand earned-income tax credits for low-income Mainers.

All Democrats voted for the bill. All Republicans opposed it, as did independent Sen. Richard Woodbury of Yarmouth.

The bill, LD 455, sponsored by Rep. Peter Stuckey, D-Portland, would double the state earned income tax credit for low-income individuals and families to 10 percent of the federal earned income tax credit and make it fully refundable at the state level.

Democrats have argued that the bill would provide financial benefits to working Mainers who most need it. Republicans countered that income tax rate cuts passed by the previous GOP-led Legislature offer similar benefits and that state government is not in a position to absorb the revenue loss that enacting the bill would cause.

Voting largely along party lines, the House passed the bill Tuesday by a 91-52 vote. If the bill wins final passage, it would go to Gov. Paul LePage, who would have 10 days from the date he receives it to sign, veto or allow the measure to become law without his signature.