In March, House Republicans released their priorities for returning $1.2 billion in taxpayer funds over-collected by the state.
House Republicans prioritized returning money to Maine citizens whose family budgets are, on average, $5,200 less than last year due to rising prices.
Our top priorities have been clear:
- Return as much taxpayer money as possible to you
- Expand relief payments to more people
- Support retirees and prevent outmigration of Maine citizens
We also have also supported our direct and long-term care workforce, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, elder care, and veterans’ homes.
The growing problem of PFAS and the need for mitigation is also a high priority.
Last week, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed a Supplemental Budget that allocates over $1.2 billion in projected tax over-collection.
Money is going to be returned to taxpayers and used to address pressing needs as opposed to growing government.
Because this money is being returned to you, it will not be spent expanding the state’s baseline budget, which has grown considerably over the last four years.
The budget that legislators passed, and the Governor signed, includes:
$729 million returned to Maine taxpayers
The Governor’s original proposal to provide to $750 to income tax filers earning up to $75,000 individually and $150,000 jointly was expanded to $850.
Republicans were able to get money returned to 57,000 more taxpayers than the Governor proposed by expanding the income cap is $100,000 individually and $200,000 jointly. The Head of the Household filing cap is $150,000.
All told, an estimated 858,000 people will have money returned to them instead of money going toward new government spending.
Exemption of Pensions and Retirement Income from Income Tax
House Republican negotiators were able to have substantial, structural tax reform for retirees included in the Supplemental Budget.
The maximum deduction of non-military pensions and retirement from state income tax has been increased from $10,000 to $25,000 in tax year 2022. That same deduction increases an additional by $5,000 in tax year 2023, and another $5,000 in 2024, before reaching a maximum of $35,000 in tax year 2025.
This is a major step toward stopping the flight of up to 80,000 retirees to states that do not tax retirement pensions. It is a major benefit to retirees living on a fixed income and negatively impacted by rising prices.
There are many other important priorities contained in the budget.
- $100 million for our aging transportation network.
- Support for Direct and Long-term Care facilities and their employees through cost of living adjustments (COLA) and increased rates to support wages at least 125% of the minimum wage.
- Support nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities with: one-time supplemental payments; adjustments for inflation this year; and payments to assist with increased staffing costs.
- One time funds to keep the Veterans’ Homes in Caribou and Machias open.
- A one-time cost-of-living increase for 36,000 state employees.
- Support for elder care through 600 additional slots for Section 63 in-home and community services to help keep older Maine residents in their homes.
- $60 million in new funding to address PFAS.
- Monies for child protections services.
This is a case where the input of Maine citizens, expressed through elected Republicans, resulted in public policy that addresses the needs of more Maine citizens now and in future years.
We appreciate that the majority party worked collaboratively with us to craft a bill that received unanimous committee support and become law, providing relief to Maine citizens.
House Republicans offered many proposals to make life easier for Mainers this past session. Most were not allowed to be considered by the majority Democrats who control the Legislature.
Throughout 2022, we will continue to offer constructive ideas that benefit all Mainers, not just narrow special interests. We want you to have equal opportunity to be successful, and to have your unique contributions benefit our economy and our state.
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