Recently, I received a notice regarding the repeal of the very popular Maine resident property tax and rent refund "circuitbreaker" program. The program has been replaced by a refundable tax fairness credit.
The credit is so far from being fair, it is laughable. Unfortunately, the negative effects will be greatly felt by all who have received financial relief from the former program.
Under the old program, the Maine household gross income could not be more than $86,600; under the new, $40,000.
Under the old program, if you paid more than 4 percent of your Maine household adjusted gross income in property tax you would qualify; under the new, 10 percent.
Under the old program, if renters paid more than 20 percent of their Maine household adjusted gross income, they qualified; under the new, the figure is 40 percent.
Under the old program, the maximum you could receive was $1,600; under the new, up to $400. That is a 75 percent reduction.
The old program has been replaced by an inferior substitute. Many will no longer qualify for any refund under the new, stringent limitations.
Between the reduction in revenue sharing, which has caused many communities to increase taxes, and the so-called fairness credit, Mainers will not have hundreds of dollars that they could have used for discretionary spending. That will also have an adverse effect on state revenue.
That's the bad news. The good news is that the governor wants to be re-elected so he can continue to help us.
Richard Smith, Lewiston