Gideon: “We have the chance to offer Mainers what they’ve told us time and again that they need most: direct property tax relief.”

AUGUSTA – Speaker Sara Gideon will present LD 1713,  “An Act To Return Funds to Maine Property Tax Payers” before the Legislature’s Joint Standing on Taxation. This bill repurposes an existing tax relief fund and creates the “Property Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents,” and requires the fund to provide property tax relief payments directly to residents of Maine whose residence qualifies for an exemption under the Maine homestead property tax exemption.

“It’s clear to all of us who have been elected to serve and come to work in the State House that Mainers are feeling the burden of high property taxes,” said Speaker Sara Gideon. “ For some, that means not expanding their business, making improvements to their homes, or simply taking fewer opportunities to participate on our economy. For others, that burden is more than they can bear and still hope to remain in their homes.”

“Whenever we have the opportunity to help the people of our State in a way that will, without a doubt, make their lives easier, we should seize it. Passing this bill and providing Mainers directly with the relief they need is one of those opportunities.”

LD 1713 re-purposes the existing “Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents,” creates  the “Property Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents,” and requires it to provide property tax relief payments directly to residents of this State whose residence qualifies for an exemption under the Maine homestead property tax exemption. The amount of the tax relief payment would be determined annually by dividing the total amount of funds available in the Fund by the total number of homesteads that qualify for the Maine homestead property tax exemption. If that amount is at least $100, the Treasurer of the State will be required to mail checks for the tax relief payment to each qualifying homeowner by December 1st of each year.

You can find Speaker Gideon’s submitted written testimony in below.

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Senator Chipman, Representative Tipping and distinguished members of the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation, I am Sara Gideon, and I represent the town of Freeport and part of Pownal. I also have the distinct honor of serving as the Speaker of the Maine House. I’m here today to present LD 1713, “An Act To Return Funds to Maine Property Tax Payers.”

Since I’ve been a legislator, and before that as a Town Councilor, there has been one issue that’s come up at almost every home I’ve visited, at every event I’ve attended, and at every community discussion or town meeting I’ve participated in. I’m sure that it’s no different for you, particularly as Members of this committee. Everywhere I’ve been in our State, I’ve heard the stories from folks who are desperate for property tax relief, how rising property tax bills have affected their families and their communities, and how Mainers are desperate for relief.

For years, as the state has failed to pay its fair share to our towns and cities, homeowners have seen their property tax bills climb higher and higher to cover the costs of education and essential services in their communities. This can be a burden for any family struggling to make ends meet, but is especially worrisome for seniors and others who live on fixed incomes and who risk losing their homes as they try to keep up.

With LD 1713, we have the chance to offer Mainers what they’ve told us time and again they need most: direct property tax relief.

This bill repurposes the existing “Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents,” creates  the “Property Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents,” and requires it to provide property tax relief payments directly to residents of this State whose residence qualifies for an exemption under the Maine homestead property tax exemption. The amount of the tax relief payment would be determined annually by dividing the total amount of funds available in the Fund by the total number of homesteads that qualify for the Maine homestead property tax exemption. If that amount is at least $100, the Treasurer of the State will be required to mail checks for the tax relief payment to each qualifying homeowner by December 1st of each year.

It’s clear to all of us who have been elected to serve and come to work in this building that Mainers are feeling the burden of high property taxes. For some, that means not expanding their business, making improvements to their homes, or simply taking fewer opportunities to participate on our economy. For others, that burden is more than they can bear and still hope to remain in their homes.

In one way or another, this issue affects all Mainers. 

Whenever we have the opportunity to help the people of our State in a way that will, without a doubt, make their lives easier, we should seize it. This is such an opportunity, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting LD 1713.

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