I hear often from constituents about the crushing weight of property taxes. For years, Mainers have seen their property taxes rise and rise. Mil rate may be determined locally, but Augusta’s failure to pay its bills has been the number one cause of tax increases. Those increases have made it harder for Mainers, particularly low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes, to stay in their homes.

Unfortunately, Gov. Paul LePage seems committed to raising property taxes for working Mainers. A new report by the Maine Center for Economic Policy shows that the governor’s budget proposal gives huge tax cuts to the top 1 percent of Maine families, paid for by eliminating property tax relief programs, cutting funding to public schools and skipping out on the state’s cost of essential local services like public safety and road maintenance.

In Sagadahoc County, the hit is substantial. In Bath, the average homeowner will pay $440 more if the governor gets his way. In Richmond, it’s $374 more. In Topsham, it’s $359. Meanwhile, the governor would give the top 1 percent an average tax cut of $23,000. That’s not right and Democrats aren’t going to let him get away with it.

Those property tax spikes are thanks to just one provision in the governor’s budget – the elimination of the Homestead Property Tax Exemption for anyone under 65 years old. The real increase would be even larger, as property taxpayers would be left holding the tab for the state’s share of public school costs and local service costs. (To see how the elimination of the Homestead Property Tax Exemption would affect your property tax bill, click here.)

Enough is enough. We can’t let the governor force families and elders out of their homes. We can’t continue to let Augusta continue to shift the tax burden onto the shoulders of property taxpayers. The state needs to pay its bills and on top of that, it needs to provide direct assistance to Mainers who are crying out for property tax relief.

As always, never hesitate to reach out to me. You can call my office at 207-287-1515 or email me at eloise.vitelli@legislature.maine.gov.

 

 

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