The Senate rejected June 6 a bill that would have reimbursed business owners for payroll taxes if they hire the long-term unemployed.

The Maine House voted 87-57 on June 6 to support LD 521. The Senate followed by rejecting the bill 23-8. The Legislature’s Taxation Committee had recommended rejection of the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Anna Blodgett, D-Augusta.

On June 7, the House agreed to go along with the Senate to defeat the bill.

The bill permits an employer who hires an employee who has not been employed for six months to receive reimbursement for the amount of state income tax withheld for that employee for the first six months of employment.

The bill would allow the state to be repaid the credit if the employer terminates the employment prior to the one‑year anniversary of the date of hire. The law would expire Dec. 31, 2014.

Voting for the bill were Reps. Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland; Chuck Kruger, D-Thomaston; Joan Welsh, D-Rockport; Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro; Andrew O’Brien, D-Lincolnville; Walter Kumiega III D-Deer Isle; Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea; and Jonathan McKane, R-Newcastle.

Kruger said he supported the bill to help create jobs in this economy.

Welsh said the bill was a good incentive for employers and workers. She said small businesses and restaurant owners support the proposal.

Kumiega asked what could be wrong with the bill. He said the costs would be offset by saving on unemployment compensation.

Voting against the bill was Rep. Wes Richardson, R-Warren.

In the Senate, all three Midcoast Republicans — Sens. Christopher Rector of Thomaston, A. David Trahan of Waldoboro, and Michael Thibodeau of Winterport — voted to kill the bill.

“The solution for hiring the unemployed is not carving out small tax credits that advantage one potential employee over another,” Rector said. “In addition, there is a cost to this legislation. We are currently negotiating a budget where every dollar is being carefully allocated to provide necessary services with scarce resources. The solution to hiring the unemployed is make certain that we have done all that we can as a state to support a robust economy through providing an educated, trained workforce, ensuring reasonable taxes, maintaining critical infrastructure and supporting a sensible regulatory environment.”