AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has voted down Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to offer business tax breaks and workers the freedom not to pay labor union fees in an effort to attract big companies to the state.

The Republican governor’s bill would set up pilot project areas in Brunswick and Limestone. Businesses that invest more than $50 million and create at least 1,500 jobs would be offered tax and energy cost relief and assistance to help train and recruit workers. They would be “right-to-work” zones, meaning non-union employees wouldn’t have to pay fees to negotiate and administer contracts.

The Senate voted 22-13 in favor of rejecting the measure Friday, sending it to the House.

Democrats blasted the bill and say workers make less in right-to-work states than states that allow unions.

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