As rising home values weigh on steady incomes in Maine, a Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan initiative will help pay property tax bills for Maine seniors and those who are permanently disabled
Gov. Janet Mills announced today that her government is introducing the State Property Tax Deferral Program, a lifeline loan program through the governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan that can cover the annual property tax bills of eligible Maine residents age 65 or older and who cannot afford to pay for it themselves. The loan program will enable Maine’s most vulnerable parishioners to age on the spot and ensure property taxes continue to be paid to the community. The program requires repayment of the loan as soon as the property is sold or becomes part of an estate.
The State Property Tax Forbearance Program is modeled on a similar expired program from the 1990s, this time funded with $ 3.5 million from the Federal American Rescue Plan through the governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. It complements an additional $ 60 million investment in the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to build more homes for the Maine population. Together, these Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan initiatives can help combat the growing Maine real estate market, which is making it harder to afford housing and which threatens to displace renters, working families, elderly Mainers and the permanently disabled from stable housing opportunities.
“Elderly Mainers and people with disabilities deserve to live and age in their homes without fear of losing them because they can’t afford property taxes.” said Governor Janet Mills. “This program through my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan gives people the peace of mind that they can age safely at home. My administration will continue to work with the Legislature to address property taxes, increase housing availability, and ensure that all Maine residents, regardless of age or income, have a safe and stable place to live in our state in our state Can call home. “
“The government’s property tax deferral program can help elderly or disabled people who have no other option to pay their property taxes and allow people to stay at home without putting a strain on local budgets.” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “We are working with the Maine community to process claims and payments for the current tax year.”
“I hear from so many people in Maine who tell me their property taxes are just too high and are getting higher and higher. This problem is particularly difficult for retired and disabled Mainers who have steady incomes. For this reason, years ago, in the 128. said Senator Donna Bailey. “After years of fighting for this program and the relief it will bring to thousands of people in Maine, I was proud that it finally became law. As long as I am in the State House, I will continue to fight for measures that really relieve real people. “
“While everyone wants to age in their home for as long as possible, too many older Mainers on a steady income have to leave their homes because they cannot afford property taxes. The State Property Tax deferral program offers an ingenious solution to this problem. ” said Jess Maurer, executive director of the Maine Council on Aging. “Governor Mills and the legislature, especially sponsor Senator Donna Bailey, are to be commended for developing a self-sustaining program that works for everyone, especially senior Mainers who can stay in their homes.”
“Local leaders commend Governor Mills and the legislature for reinstating the Maine property tax deferral program. This program will help qualified residents stay in their homes without placing an additional burden on property taxpayers. ” said James Bennett, president of the Maine Municipal Association and Biddeford City manager. “The acceptance of this program, combined with state funding of 55 percent of the K-12’s education expenditure, the reduction of the municipal revenue distribution to 5 percent of the state sales and income tax revenue, and the gradual increase in state reimbursement as part of the Homestead exception program, underscores the State obligation to reduce the burden on property taxpayers. This is a much needed and welcome investment in the Maine communities. “
The governor has also increased housing options for senior Mainers, signing a $ 15 million electoral senior residential loan in 2019 that was withheld by her predecessor. The governor also signed the largest government housing investment in Maine history and recently broke ground for a major new housing project that resulted from the bill.
The State Property Tax Forbearance Program builds on this work by paying Maine communities property tax bills for any primary residence they occupy as long as the owner is 65 years of age or older and / or permanently disabled, earns less than $ 40,000 per year, and has cash less than $ 50,000 (or less than $ 75,000 if submitted jointly). Complete eligibility criteria and applications can be obtained through Maine Revenue Services.
Property owners must apply to the municipality in which they live. The communities will work directly with Maine Revenue Services, a division of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, to process the applications and related payments.
In order to maintain the state property tax deferral program indefinitely, any property tax bills covered by the program in addition to the initial $ 3.5 million federal allocation will be repaid when the property is sold or becomes part of an estate.
In addition to the state property tax deferral program under the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, the Mills Administration has continued to provide tax breaks to Maine residents through:
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the governor’s law-approved plan to invest nearly $ 1 billion in the Federal American Rescue Plan’s funds to achieve three goals: immediate economic recovery from the pandemic; long-term economic growth for Maine; and revitalization of the infrastructure.
It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the 10-Year Strategy for the State’s Economic Development and translates them into concrete action to improve the lives of Maine’s people and strengthen the economy.
The employment plan is funded by the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, which provided Maine with $ 4.5 billion in stimulus funds in 2021.
Coordination of the employment plan is led by the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future through a new Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan Office.