AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has rejected a bill that would have denied tax breaks to woodland owners who hire Canadian workers to harvest timber.

In a 21-14 vote, the Senate on Tuesday shot down a bill that would have prohibited landowners who use foreign loggers from utilizing Maine’s popular Tree Growth Tax program.

Supporters of the bill contended that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t benefit timberland owners who export jobs and wood to Canada when Maine loggers are struggling to find work.

But opponents argued that denying tax breaks unfairly penalizes landowners who are forced to hire Canadian loggers when there’s a shortage of Maine workers.

The Bangor Daily News says the bill faces additional votes in the Senate before heading to the House for consideration.

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