This is Representative Bruce Bickford, of Auburn, with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
Previous radio addresses have focused on identifying the immediate problems facing Mainers in the form of rising prices and how they are making life increasingly difficult for Maine citizens to live, work, and raise a family here.
We have also identified solutions, even if Democrat control of state government makes them less than ideal. The $850 checks Republicans initiated and fought for, against the Democrat desire to expand government programs, is one example of this. Returning your money to you was preferable to allowing Democrats to spend it on new programs requiring even more of your hard-earned money down the road.
We have also highlighted the structural tax reform for retirees Republicans negotiated into the budget. This reform increased the maximum deduction of non-military pensions and retirement from state income tax from $10,000 to $25,000 in tax year 2022. Then increases the deduction an additional $5,000 each year, 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.
In this week’s address, I would like to highlight another Republican initiative that addresses a real problem facing Maine, especially elderly Mainers.
Rising property taxes and a fixed incomes.
This past session, the Legislature passed a Republican bill to help Maine seniors remain in their homes by stabilizing property taxes at age 65.
I was pleased to co-sponsor Senator “Trey” Stewart’s bill “An Act to Stabilize Property Taxes for Individuals 65 Years of Age or Older Who Own a Homestead for at Least 10 Years.” The bill is now Public Law 751.
You would think that a bill many see as long overdue would have been welcomed in the tax committee, but, every single Democrat voted against the bill in committee.
The legislation was brought to the full legislature with an ‘ought-not-to-pass’ recommendation from majority Democrats. Republicans believed in the bill and worked hard to convince enough Democrats to support it. Governor Mills also did not support the bill by signing it, letting it become law without her signature.
The new law provides property tax stabilization for individuals 65 years of age and older who have owned a homestead in Maine for at least 10 years, by freezing the resident’s property tax liability. Each year, individuals are required to apply to the municipality by December 1.
If eligible, property tax bills are stabilized and the state is responsible for covering any additional cost to the municipality. The goal is to help keep people in their homes and tax revenue flowing for municipalities and the state.
That is one small, but important way we can help Maine seniors remain in their homes.
Ideally, we can lower taxes and the cost of living for all Mainers. The larger state government becomes, the less we have to pay our bills.
A Republican controlled legislature will enact structural tax reforms that make Maine more competitive with other states. That will attract new businesses and workers to Maine with better wages, and allow people to keep more of what they earn.
We need policies that allow everyone to succeed here, not just special interest groups or wealthy donors.
House Republicans are working to move Maine forward. Please help support us by spreading our message.
This has been Rep. Bruce Bickford with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. Thank you for supporting our efforts, listening, subscribing, sharing, and following us on Facebook and Instagram.