AUGUSTA—Two bills from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, aimed at providing property tax relief to veterans received public hearings before the Legislature’s Taxation Committee on Tuesday.
“Property taxes in our state have been out of control. This is making it difficult for all people – whether they are veterans or otherwise – to live comfortably in their homes,” said President Jackson. “At the same time, we are seeing many of our servicemen and women struggle to return to civilian life. These bills would provide some much-needed property tax relief and help Maine veterans afford to remain in their home as they transition back to life in Maine.”
The first bill extends an existing property tax relief program for veterans. Current law allows for a $6,000 property tax exemption for those who served in federally recognized war periods. LD 1194, “An Act To Increase Property Tax Relief for Veterans” would increase that exemption to $10,000.
The second bill provides targeted property tax relief towards disabled veterans. LD 1271, “An Act To Exempt Permanently Disabled Veterans from Payment of Property Tax” would provide a full property tax exemption to those who have been designated as 100 percent permanently disabled as a result of their service.
Maine has a high number of veterans per capita compared to the rest of the country. According to a recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Maine is one of six states where veterans account for ten percent of our population.
President Jackson and his colleagues have made property tax relief a top priority in the Legislature. In 2017, the Legislature increased the homestead exemption by 33 percent, bringing the total exemption up to $20,000. In 2018, the Legislature voted to increase the Property Tax Fairness Credit by nearly $11 million dollars, which allows Maine seniors to save up to $1,250 in property taxes and eligible working Mainers and families to save up to $800 on property taxes or rent. These bills build on this effort.
Both bills face additional work session in committee.