In this June 30, 2021, file photo, a man walks around the rear of the State House in Augusta. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine lawmakers are closing in on final approval of a proposal to provide tax credits to help grow child care providers in the state.

The program is designed to support early care and education centers. Proponents of the bill said it would encourage administrators and teachers to improve their training through refundable tax credits.

The Maine House of Representatives voted to enact the proposal last week. Bill sponsor Rep. Rebecca Millett, a Democrat of Cape Elizabeth, said the tax credit program “supports and grows these critical small businesses in Maine, offers relief for our families and improves the quality of care for our smallest children.”

The bill would also change current income tax credits for child care expenses incurred by families by increasing the maximum amount to 200 percent of the federal credit, supporters said.

The proposal is based on a program called the School Readiness Tax Credits program in Louisiana.