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.