Last year we transitioned our business, Rock City Coffee in Rockland, into an employee-owned cooperative. We did so because we value workers – and you know how hard it is for working folks to get by.

Fortunately, our state Legislature’s Taxation Committee recently voted 10-1 to advance L.D. 1491, a bipartisan bill that would help workers do just that. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit is a crucial credit that helps thousands of Mainers make ends meet. In fact, it is so effective that 29 states, including Maine, have created their own state-level Earned Income Tax Credits to build on its success.

Unfortunately, Maine’s state-level credit is the smallest in the nation (tied with Louisiana and Oklahoma), at just 5 percent of the federal credit. The Maine Work Credit would deepen that credit and would expand it to more middle-class households, who are also struggling with rising living costs in our state.

Like our workers, many of our customers are working-class folks. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the Maine Work Credit would put an average of $427 a year in the pocket of working-class Mainers, money that they can spend on child care, heating, groceries and, yes, the occasional latte.

That then helps our small businesses to grow, allowing them to hire more workers, who, with their own Maine Work Credit, will also be able to frequent other small businesses. Studies show that the EITC has a “multiplier effect” on local economies, in many cases generating twice the amount of local economic activity as the original tax credit.

Kevin Malmstrom

general manager, Rock City Coffee


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