January 19, 2007
AUGUSTA- Governor Baldacci today detailed his proposal to provide tax relief to Maine permanent resident taxpayers. The Resolution, L.D. 276, which has a tri-partisan support in the Legislature, freezes the valuation of Maine primary residences by amending the Maine Constitution. ]
"The time has come to enact a property tax relief policy that is by Maine people for Maine people," said Governor Baldacci, echoing his Inauguration promise. "Freezing valuations will provide permanent relief for permanent residents."
The constitutional amendment is modeled after the existing provision in the Maine Constitution - known as the Tree Growth Law - that gives a valuation break to woodlands, farmlands, wildlife management lands, open space, and working waterfront land.
"If we can freeze valuations in these cases, certainly we can do the same to protect primary Maine residents from escalating land prices," said the Governor. "There's a difference, however, in my proposal: The Tree Growth Law is voluntary. For primary Maine residents, I want to require valuation freezes across the board. This is about guaranteed relief."
Governor Baldacci's proposal puts in the Constitution the principle that valuations of primary resident lands are treated differently. It provides for a 5-year look-back recapture of forgone taxes when the property is transferred.
Once the resolution is ratified by the people of Maine, the proposal tasks the Legislature with creating implementing legislation.
"I know of the opposition to this proposal. But I'm certain we need to do more for Maine residents," said the Governor. "We've helped businesses by repealing the business equipment tax. We can export more of our property tax burden to second-home owners who aren't residents. I appreciate all the work that's gone into this in previous Legislatures, but I'm asking them to tackle it again."
The Governor's resolution is part of his vision to provide property tax relief to Maine residents. With the Governor's proposed biennial budget, the State will have fulfilled the promise of state spending on local education to 55%. His proposed budget restructures school districts, providing tax savings to all who pay property taxes in Maine. Governor Baldacci is insisting that the savings available from increased funding be directly passed on to taxpayers for immediate property tax relief.
As Chairs of the Taxation Committee, L.D. 276 is sponsored by Senator Joseph Perry; Representative John Piotti is the lead cosponsor. Additional cosponsors include Senator John Courtney; Representative Patsy Crockett; Representative Leila Percy; and Representative Dick Woodbury.