Flemming: Maine’s property tax freeze for seniors — What about Vermont?

By David Flemming

In early August, a law took effect in Maine that will leave many Vermonters thinking “if only.”

Permanent Maine residents 65 or older who have owned a home for at least 10 years may apply through their towns to have their property taxes frozen at their current level. The Maine Policy Institute reports:

The cost of the program is expected to rise significantly as more individuals become eligible and sign up. According to estimates in the 2020 Census, roughly 16% of Maine’s population could potentially qualify for this program, as about 20% of Mainers are over the age of 65 and approximately 80% of that subset are homeowners. The bill’s fiscal note projects that the price tag of reimbursing municipalities will roughly double year-over-year, costing $2.6 million for FY 2023, $7 million for FY 2024, and $14 million for FY 2025.

Expensive for sure, and one wonders what the fiscal impact to Vermonters of such a policy would be. Vermont certainly has far less worthy endeavors that it has spent money on.

The last major attempt to change the way Vermonters paid property taxes came in 2018, as covered by EAI in a roll call, which became law. Rather than alleviating the overall tax burden, Vermonters with higher incomes pay more while Vermonters with high-value properties pay less than before the change.

Both Maine and Vermont have a long way to go to achieve anything resembling true fiscal responsibility.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org
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8 thoughts on “Flemming: Maine’s property tax freeze for seniors — What about Vermont?

  1. The government in Vermont needs to cut spending. Cut spending! That would solve a host of problems. But like an addict who can’t say no to the next fix, Vermont legislators are addicted to taxes and spending with no concern for the taxpayers and no accountability.

  2. The so called “current use” property tax breaks that investment property owners receive need to be re-examined.

    For starters, posted land should not be eligible for use value enrollment.

  3. Yes liberal commie lawmakers, what about Vt’ers your driving out with military background or generational and age in state background. When does enough become enough. I’ve paid for 61 years and one war, when does my payment end? Your so excited to end a potential life, but not Vt’ers financial life.

    • Well stated DBean re “Your so excited to end a potential life, but not Vermonters’ financial life.” The most dangerous place to live is indeed in the womb…

  4. Vermont beat Maine a long time ago….VT already subsizes & caps property taxes – based on income…and around 65% of Vermonters benefit from subsidized property taxes. So if the majority of homeowners in VT are subsidized….what do you think will happen when VT is in financial trouble and asks them to pay more ?….good luck…”free stuff” is ingrained….they’ll just tax the “other guy” who already pays huge taxes. But what if they leave VT – who will pay all of this? Watch New York City for example…..42% of NYC income taxes come from a tiny 1% of the NYC population…and many are LEAVING to Florida and other low tax states….just a matter of time….VT will be next eventually.

    • Nonsense. People over 65 should be exempt from school taxes period. By that age they have paid their way in life, they have no kids in school, and live on a fixed income.

      • Sorry Ed, it is fiscally impossible that “people over 65 should be exempt from school taxes”…….do the math. The 2021 census shows that 20.3% of the VT population is OVER 65…that works out to about 128,000 people. VT has one of the oldest populations in USA. So how is it finanacially possible to exempt 20% of the population from school taxes – and at the SAME TIME….65% (minus the over 65) of the VT population get’s their property taxes subsidzied?…If you subsidize 65% and also then fully exempt 20%….that will leave about 35,000 people employed in VT to pay almost all property taxes….fully at 100%…and VT is the 3rd or 4th largest per pupil spender in USA….$19,400 per child a year. WHERE will the into billions come from, if so many in VT are subsidized, or exempted?

        • Then VT needs to get out of the school business. Because it is so costly is no reason to stay with it and add more to the costs.
          What I have seen of the private and parochial concepts, are producing far better outcomes than public.
          Why is that so difficult for the understanding concepts of grey matter?

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