- Quinn Malter
Mainers with Fixed Incomes are Receiving Property Tax Relief
People from all over the country have sought a little piece of Vacationland during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the supply of affordable housing dwindles and home prices skyrocket, Maine homeowners have seen their property taxes rise significantly. This has been hard on Mainers across the state, but it is particularly difficult for those living on fixed incomes, including the elderly and the disabled.
Now the Mills Administration is stepping in to ease the burden. Last month, Governor Mills announced the launch of the State Property Tax Deferral Program, a $3.5 million lifeline loan program as part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan. Under this new program, Mainers age 65 and older or permanently disabled making less than $40,000 per year would have their annual property taxes paid in full. The loan would need to be repaid if the recipient sells their property or puts it into an estate, helping to keep the program funded.
“Older Mainers and those with disabilities deserve to live and age in the comfort of their homes without worrying they’ll lose them because they can’t afford the property taxes,” said Governor Mills. “This program through my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan provides folks with the peace of mind that they can age safely and securely in their homes. My Administration will continue to work with the Legislature to address property taxes, increase the availability of housing, and ensure that all Maine people, regardless of age or income, are able to have a safe, stable place to call home in our state.”
“Municipal leaders commend Governor Mills and members of the Legislature for reinstating Maine’s Property Tax Deferral Program. This program will help qualifying residents remain in their homes, without shifting additional burdens onto the property taxpayers,” said James Bennett, President of the Maine Municipal Association and Biddeford City Manager. “This is a much needed and welcomed investment in Maine’s communities.”
The State Property Tax Deferral Program is one of the many ways Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature are working to ensure that every Mainer has access to affordable housing. House Speaker Ryan Fecteau and Governor Mills passed the single largest state investment in housing in Maine’s history in 2020. And just last year, Speaker Fecteau established a commission to review data and propose measures that would encourage increased housing options in the state. The Commission’s final report was released in December.
Mainers for Working Families applauds Governor Mills and our leaders in the Maine Legislature for their efforts to keep Mainers in their homes in the midst of the affordable housing crisis. Every Mainer deserves to have a roof over their head, especially at this time of year.