R. Smith: An inferior substitute

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 The program has been replaced by a refundable tax fairness credit.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The old program has been replaced by an inferior substitute.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

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Comments

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

There is only one way ...

... to make property taxes "fair", removing any perceived need for circuit-breaker schemes. Stop funding public education via property taxes! Hike state taxes, income and sales, to fund education 100%. While we're at it, amend Maine's constitution to get that funding out of the reach of the sticky fingers of politicians.

Michigan tried this in the 90s and the average property tax bill dropped by 60%! They passed a simple law making it illegal to fund public education through property taxes. Of course, a couple of years later, the enlightened electorate tossed out their Republican governor and legislature, and Democrats quickly repealed the law, hiking taxes back to previous levels, and sealing the fate of Detroit.

Please spare me the hogwash about "local control". That disappeared the first time your district prostituted itself to Augusta and/or Washington.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Don't forget the hurdles..........

Now instead of applying for the refund outright. I need to file an income tax return to get the refund. Before you post a slick response to this Mark, let me tell you. I made close to six figures , I didn't need this help. Then my income was taken from me, about 85% of it. Now I need that refund, I don't consider it a hand out, now I would have to file a tax return which I haven't had to do for the past six years. Paul LePage is just doing what he does best, screw the under dog. His philosophy, If we need to give them something, make it hard to get, and not nearly worth the effort.
There is no excuse for that treatment of the less unfortunate.......

MARK GRAVE's picture

Richard, In the first place,

Richard,

In the first place, why is someone making $86K in Maine qualify for any government program is beyond me.

What we are seeing is a shift in the tax structure that reflects the actual cost in providing us with services.

Perhaps now we'll think twice before asking your government for more stuff. Now we know where the money comes from to pay for it - your pocket.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"In the first place, why is

"In the first place, why is someone making $86K in Maine qualify for any government program is beyond me."
BINGO. That ranks right up there with a Health Care Plan that covers one's "children" until they reach age 26. What a crock.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Thank you, Richard

For pointing out how our illustrious Gov. is helping us taxpaying property owners get by in this tough economy. Nov. 2014 can't get here soon enough.

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