It’s supplemental budget season at the State House - but it’s tax filing time at home. As state representative, I spend a great deal of time reflecting on our state’s spending priorities - but I know that this question is on many minds this time of year, not just mine.
Mainers work hard to provide for ourselves and our families. You deserve to know that your tax dollars are being used wisely, efficiently and transparently. That’s the lens through which I look at every bill or proposal that comes before us in the Maine House.
That’s why I supported the bill that created the “Property Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents,” which as of this writing has just sent a first round of property tax relief payments to homeowners across the state. I have been glad to hear from constituents who are using these $104 checks to help with winter heating costs, pay bills or save for a future expense. When every dollar counts, these relief payments make a difference.
If you received the Homestead Exemption on your 2019 property tax bill, you automatically qualify for this program - no application required. If you have not received your check and believe you qualify, call the Office of the State Treasurer at 624-7477, press 3 and then 2, and they will research your individual situation.
I was also glad to support a measure to increase eligibility for the Property Tax Fairness Credit, which is expected to apply to an additional 13,000 Mainers this tax season as a result. This is an income tax credit, so individuals apply by filing their state income tax return. If you need help with this, I encourage you to visit www.cashmaine.org/free-tax-prep to find out if you qualify for free assistance.
Last year’s bipartisan, two-year state budget included increases in municipal revenue sharing, the program that returns income and sales tax dollars to local communities in order to provide critical services like emergency response. Revenue sharing is especially critical because it helps to relieve the pressure on local property taxpayers, many of whom are already struggling. Thanks to that increase, Eliot is projected to receive an additional $110,384 in revenue sharing this fiscal year, while Kittery will receive an additional $172,966 and South Berwick an extra $195,006.
In all, these measures provided $130 million in property tax relief for homeowners, families, seniors and small businesses. That figure represents dollars going back into your pocket and our community. I am proud of this work, but I also know there’s much more to be done, and I am working just as hard this legislative session to ensure our decisions at the State House are the right ones for House District 2 and communities across the state.
In all my work as your state representative, your opinion is central to my decision-making. I am always glad to hear from you on the bills before us, issues you would like to see addressed or any other topic. If you have ideas to share, or any questions or concerns, please feel welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Michele Meyer, D-Eliot, is a first-term member of the Maine House. She represents Eliot, part of Kittery and part of South Berwick and is a member of the Health and Human Services Committee.