From the gas pump to the grocery store, Mainers are feeling the pain of inflation this summer. The cost of covering basic living expenses is a daily struggle for many, and price increases are dealing blows to industries like logging and tourism that have been making comebacks from the early part of the pandemic.

But many working families can expect some relief in the coming weeks. As part of the bipartisan budget plan passed by the Maine Legislature in April, more than 850,000 Mainers will receive $850 relief checks to address rising costs.

“The budgets of so many hardworking Maine people have been stretched to the brink by inflation, and while we cannot control inflation or global markets, we can make sure that Maine people have what they need to grapple with these rising costs,” said Governor Mills in a press release. “Through hard work, Democrats, Republicans, and independents came together to do what is right for Maine people, and, today, I am proud to say that help is on the way. I hope that this will provide at least a small measure of relief during these tough times.”

You may be eligible for these checks under the following criteria:

  • You’re a full-time Maine resident.

  • You are not claimed as a dependent on another person’s 2021 tax return.

  • Your federal adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $100,000 if filing single or if married and filing separately, $150,000 if filing as head of household, or $200,000 for couples filing jointly.

The Department of Administrative and Financial Services sent the first 5,000 checks earlier this month, and eligible Maine residents can expect to receive a check by mid-July. However, those who have not yet filed an individual tax return for 2021 have until October 31 to file for eligibility. This includes folks who wouldn’t normally file a tax return, including seniors on social security.

Thank you Maine Legislature and Governor Mills for helping Mainers during this difficult time.

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Rising inflation is taking its toll on Mainers. For many working Mainers, it’s a daily struggle to put food on the table, pay bills, and provide for their families. But the Maine Legislature and Governor Mills are taking steps to help ease the burden, including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is an anti-poverty tax policy that reduces the taxes owed by low and moderate-income families. It provides eligible filers with a refundable tax credit, increasing their access to housing, childcare, food, and other necessities. This year’s budget puts aside $27.6 million to boost that credit, increasing the maximum benefit by an average of $400 per family for a total average benefit of $764 a year. The increase is expected to impact over 90,000 Mainers.

WATCH: Maine Lawmakers Are Putting $$$ in Workers’ Pockets

By expanding Maine’s EITC, lawmakers are helping more families make ends meet and boosting the local economy in the process. Thank you to our leaders in Augusta for taking action and doing right by working families.

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The primary election in Maine is coming up fast.

On Tuesday June 14, 2022, eligible voters across the state will head to the polls to vote in their municipal elections and nominate candidates for their party prior to the general election in the fall.

The primary elections will feature ranked-choice voting, where candidates are ranked in order of preference. To learn more, visit the League of Women Voters’ guide to filling out a ranked choice ballot.

How to cast an absentee ballot:

If you are unable to vote in person or would prefer to vote by mail, no excuse absentee voting is available through Maine’s Online Absentee Ballot Request Service. The service also provides information to overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel about how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. Voters with a disability can also request an accessible ballot through this resource.

The last day to request an absentee ballot or vote early in the presence of the clerk is Thursday June 9, 2022 at 5PM ET. Although you can return your absentee ballot request form through mail, we recommend doing so in person at your local elections office, or online to ensure that your request is received on time.

To be counted, completed absentee ballots must be received by the municipal clerk by 8PM on Election Day. You can return your absentee ballot by mail or hand deliver it to your municipal office.

How to vote in-person on Election Day:

Polling locations across the state will be open until 8PM on Election Day. If you’d prefer to vote in-person on Election Day, you can find your polling location here.

How to register to vote:

If you aren’t currently registered to vote, there’s still time! Mainers can register on or before election day. To register, new voters must show proof of identity and residency at their town office or city hall. A Maine driver's license, a utility bill or government document that states a name and address will be accepted. Voters with a new address can provide those same documents to officials at their new polling location.

Who can vote in Maine’s 2022 primary election?:

All Maine voters can participate in their municipal elections on June 14th whether or not they’re enrolled in a political party, but they must be enrolled in a political party to vote in that party’s primary election. Unenrolled voters who want to vote in a party’s primary election can change their party registration at their polling place to the party whose primary they would like to participate in. When they’re done voting, they can unenroll from that party before leaving the polling place.

Governor Mills signed LD 231 into law last session to allow for semi-open primaries where unenrolled voters can participate in either a Republican or a Democratic primary election without enrolling in a political party, but that law does not take effect until the 2024 election cycle.

For more information on how to vote during Tuesday’s primaries, visit the state website’s Elections & Voting page here.

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