How Maine’s Budget Addresses the Housing Crisis
The pandemic-driven real estate boom in Maine has made the state’s existing housing crisis even worse, while also raising property taxes for homeowners. Portland and South Portland residents are reeling from tax increases following the city’s first revaluation in 15 years, and despite the city council lowering the property tax rate, Bangor residents are expected to see an overall increase in their property taxes. For many Mainers, the sudden rise in property taxes has caused an added strain in the midst of a fragile economic recovery.
Thankfully, Maine’s elected leaders have taken steps to reign in these spiraling property tax increases.
The new supplemental budget provides a one-time boost in the Property Tax Fairness Credit’s maximum benefit, to $12,000 for eligible families and $1,500 for seniors. It also permanently expands eligibility to 83,000 Maine homeowners and renters.
Additionally, the budget boosts income to municipalities under the Maine Homestead Exemption. Under the current system, Mainers who have owned a home in the state for at least 12 months would have a property tax rate based on $20,000 less than the value of their home. The state reimburses municipalities 70 percent of the lost revenue. The new budget would increase the exemption to $25,000, and raise the municipal reimbursement rate by 3 percent annually until the costs of the exemption are fully covered by the state.
Mainers for Working Families applauds our lawmakers for prioritizing property tax relief in the supplemental budget. These measures will go a long way toward making our taxes more fair in Maine. We must do everything we can to ensure every Mainer has access to safe and affordable housing.