(The Center Square) – Disabled and elderly Mainers struggling to pay their property taxes this year may find help from the state through a new relief program.
The government deferred wealth tax program The $ 3.5 million loan, unveiled by the Mills administration on Wednesday, is being provided to cover annual property tax bills for people of Maine who are 65 years of age or older or who are permanently disabled and cannot afford them to pay yourself.
Governor Janet Mills said the program, based on a similar initiative that expired in the 1990s, will “give seniors and disabled homeowners the assurance that they can age safely and securely in their homes.”
“Elderly Mainers and people with disabilities deserve to live and age in their homes without worrying about losing them because they can’t afford property taxes,” she said.
The money for the new program will come from the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act, a $ 1 billion pandemic relief bill signed by President Joe Biden last year, Mills said.
Officials praised the move, saying it will help Mainers struggling to pay their bills amid the ongoing pandemic.
“While everyone wants to age at home for as long as possible, too many older, steady-income Mainers have to leave their homes because they can’t afford property taxes,” said Jess Maurer, executive director of the Maine Council on Aging. The state property tax deferral program offers an ingenious solution to this problem. ”
Under the program, the state will defer local property tax bills for eligible participants and reimburse local governments for lost tax revenue.
Residents must be at least 65 years of age or disabled due to a disability to be eligible, according to the State Department of Administration and Financial Services.
Applicants must also have an income less than $ 40,000 and cash less than $ 50,000 or $ 75,000 when filing a joint application, the agency said.
Senator Donna Bailey, D-Saco, who has been pushing for similar laws for years, said she often hears from Mainers “who say their property taxes are just too high and keep getting higher”.
“This problem is particularly difficult for retired and disabled Mainers who have steady incomes,” she said in a statement. “After years of fighting for this program and the relief it will bring to thousands of people in Maine, I was proud that it finally became law.”