It is critical that Maine continue to look for ways to be more competitive and attract new businesses. Too many people in our communities are still looking for well-paying jobs, and far too many have given up hope for the time being.

That being said, eliminating incentives and raising taxes on current and future homeowners is the wrong road to go down.

Unfortunately, budget proposals eliminating the home mortgage interest and property tax deductions, being considered by the Maine State Legislature, would do just that.

Homeownership means so much to so many different people. For some, it means they have made it. It is something they have strived for their entire lives. Buying a home brings families together. It makes our schools better and it strengthens our communities. Our homes are where memories are made. They will shape our children’s futures.

That’s why it is beyond me why any elected official would look at making it more difficult and more expensive for families across Maine to afford a home.

Additionally, homeownership creates jobs. For every two homes sold in Maine, one full-time job is created. For every one home sold, an additional $25,600 is spent on services and products right here in our community. As this state continues to crawl out of the recession, the governor should be looking to find ways to incentivize homeownership more, not make it more expensive.


In 2013, there were nearly 400,000 homeowners in Maine — more than 250,000 of whom had an existing mortgage. That quarter of a million people are building lives in our communities. They are working, sending their kids to our schools, shopping and much more. They are our neighbors and our friends.

If the proposal to eliminate the mortgage interest and property tax deductions becomes law, homeowners in Maine face thousands of dollars in new taxes. It changes the rules of the game mid-match.

Those changes force potential and current homeowners in our state to ask the question “Is it really worth it anymore?”

More than half of homeowners with a mortgage in our state claimed the mortgage interest and property tax deductions Maine offers. Three quarters have claimed them at one point or another. Those items are not disposable — they are critical to our communities and maintaining homeownership rates in our state. They help businesses decide whether our communities are places where their employees would want to live.

I have devoted years toward working to make our communities a better place to buy a house and raise a family. With one fell swoop, elimination of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions would destroy many of the critical incentives provided to current and future homeowners, as well as raise sales taxes on buying a home. These changes could potentially lower home values by nearly $7,000 for a typical homeowner.

Those changes would alter the face of homeownership in Maine. It makes affording to live here less certain and therefore makes surrounding states look better and better. Lawmakers should be looking for solutions that move Maine forward, not destabilizing 250,000 current homeowners by raising their taxes and hurting future homeownership.

For the sake of current homeowners and those to come, retaining use of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions as tools helping middle class Mainers reach the American dream of home ownership is critical.

Glen Holmes is a resident of Buckfield and has been involved in economic development in the Western Maine region for many years.

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