AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic leaders in Maine have threatened to roll back a shipyard’s $45 million tax break because they say conditions outlined in a 2018 law weren’t met.

House Speaker Sara Gideon and Senate President Troy Jackson sent a letter to Bath Iron Works that stated the average wage at the shipyard has declined, the company has hired mostly low-wage scale workers and is planning to hire out-of-state subcontractors, the Portland Press Herald reported Thursday.

"We championed this legislation based on the promise of continued good-paying jobs at the BIW shipbuilding facility," Gideon and Jackson wrote in their letter dated Dec. 20. "It would be unfortunate if the Legislature had to reconsider this special tax credit because of the ever-growing evidence that BIW has not lived up to their end of the bargain."

The company’s vice president and general counsel replied on Dec. 23, disputing the allegation that they are not meeting the requirements.

The company blamed the tight labor market and the retirement of highly skilled workers who had earned higher wages than their replacements as well as the need to meet Navy deadlines for completing work on ships.

Top Senate Republicans also responded in a joint statement, writing that it is “mindboggling” that Democratic leaders would threaten “one of the state’s largest employers” because they were not able to hire enough local workers during the current market.

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