By Ramona du Houx
A proposed law to help defray the rising costs of property taxes received strong public support during a hearing in the state’s Taxation Committee.
“I’ve heard from thousands of Lewiston residents over the last year who are concerned with rising property taxes,” said Democratic Senator Nate Libby of Lewiston, the sponsor of the bill. “While this bill surely cannot cure the underlying and growing crisis property taxpayers and their local governments face, it can make a difference to low-income homeowners and renters, and those on fixed incomes, who can desperately use this relief."
The measure, LD 76 , “An Act to Amend the Property Tax Fairness Credit,” raises the maximum credit amount by $300--up to $900 for people under the age of 65 and up to $1,200 for a people over 65.
Under the current Property Tax Fairness Credit, eligible Maine taxpayers may receive a portion of their property tax or rent paid during the tax year on their Maine individual income tax return. The credit is targeted to help families with the least ability to pay their property tax and rent bills.
Additionally, through an amendment, the measure corrects the calculation in eligibility changes that occurred when the Circuit Breaker program was replaced by the Property Tax Fairness credit. Sen. Libby’s bill would return the percentage of income paid on property taxes from 10 percent under the current PFTC to 4 percent as it was under the Circuit Breaker program; and, for renters, from 15 percent under the PFTC to 20 percent returning it to the same eligibility criteria as it was under the Circuit Breaker program.
The Taxation Committee will schedule a work session on the measure in the coming weeks.