The developers, Tom Niemann and Paul Burgosian, of the Hathaway Center in Waterville took a discarded shirt factory and transformed it, using the Historic Tax Credits and state tax incentives. Hundreds of people now work at the center the tax credit is transforming downtowns across Maine. Photo by Ramona du Houx
The Mayors’ Coalition on Jobs and Economic Development has asked Maine's Congressional Delegation to oppose any tax reform package that eliminates or reduces the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction or the Historic Tax Credit.
Since 2008 the Historic Tax Credit has yielded 5,180 jobs in Maine and generated $42,2 Million in revenue. The credit has also been a catalyst to revitalizing many of Maine’s historic downtowns, like the Hathaway Center in Waterville.
"The Historic Tax Credit must not get lost in the tax reform discussions," urged Alan Casavant, Mayor of Biddeford. "Saco and Biddeford are growing today thanks in large part to the redevelopment of our old mill buildings. That would not have been possible without the Historic Tax Credit." Eliminating the Historic Tax Credit is especially short-sighted because it returns more revenue to the Treasury than it costs. The return is $1.20-$1.25 for every $1 of credit according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (savingplaces.org).
The legislation that recently emerged from the House of Representatives would cap SALT deductions at $10,000 for property taxes only and eliminate the Historic Tax Credit. On November 28, 2017 the Senate Budget Committee approved a package that would eliminate the SALT deduction entirely.
"The SALT deduction is an essential part of good tax policy," said David Rollins, Mayor of Augusta. "No Maine resident should pay federal tax on income that has already been paid to state or municipal government. SALT has been part of federal tax policy since 1913." Nearly 180,000 Maine households currently take advantage of SALT, with total income deductions of over $2 billion (source: National Association of Counties, www.naco.org).
"Eliminating SALT will be an immediate tax increase on thousands of hard working Mainers," notes Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. "Residents of service center communities will be especially hard hit because they are subject to higher municipal tax rates."
"I am concerned that eliminating SALT will put local government services at risk while increasing the real cost of home ownership," new Belfast Mayor Sarah Paradis. "Belfast residents are clear that high property tax rates are their primary concern. Eliminating SALT will increase their taxes, further stretching limited household budgets."
The Mayors’ Coalition on Jobs and Economic Development was formed in 2012. The Coalition includes the Mayors of ten Maine communities. The purpose of the Coalition is to advocate for state policies that will grow Maine’s economy statewide by providing the infrastructure, skilled workforce, and reasonable tax rates necessary to support such growth.
The Coalition brings together the Mayors of Augusta, Bangor, Belfast, Biddeford, Lewiston, Portland, Saco, Sanford, and Westbrook. This is a bi-partisan group that represents municipalities with a combined population of more than 240,000.