Maine State Chamber worked to defeat LD 1337
On March 22 the Maine State Senate voted 31 to 3 – joining the Maine House of Representatives, which had previously voted 76 to 53 – in rejecting the “ought to pass as amended” motion on LD 1337, An Act To Increase Affordable Housing And Decrease Property Taxes Through An Impact Fee On Vacant Residences. Known as the “Camp Tax,” LD 1337 was sponsored by Rep. Christopher Kessler (D-South Portland).
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill, which came out of the Taxation committee with an “ought to pass as amended” report, and worked relentlessly to ultimately garner its defeat. In the Taxation committee, Sen. Ben Chipman (D-Cumberland), Sen. Nate Libby (D-Androscoggin), Rep. Maureen Terry (D-Gorham), Rep. Benjamin Collings (D-Portland), Rep. Lori Gramlich (D-Old Orchard Beach), Rep. Ann Matlack (D-St. George), Rep. Joe Perry (D-Bangor), and Rep. Melanie Sachs (D-Freeport) voted “ought to pass” while Sen. Matthew Pouliot (R-Kennebec), Rep. Bruce Bickford (R-Auburn), Rep. Micky Carmichael (R-Greenbush), and Rep. Joel Stetkis (R-Canaan) voted “ought not to pass.”
LD 1337 would have allowed municipalities to enact an ordinance imposing an “impact fee” or “local option” tax on any “vacant” residential property – residential property that is not occupied by a permanent resident, such as second homes – in Maine. The revenue generated would have been returned to the municipality in which it was generated and would have to be used to support affordable housing in that community. The Maine State Chamber argued that this was nothing more than a back-door approach to establishing a local option tax in Maine at the expense of Maine people. In addition, there would have been no limit as to how much of an “impact fee,” or tax, municipalities could have imposed, causing property taxes to potentially skyrocket.
LD 1337 would have allowed municipalities to slap an additional tax on the very lifeblood of many lifelong Mainers – their camps or second homes. Maine camps are part of our state’s heritage and history and are essentially the heart-and-soul of many families’ memories and traditions. Family camps and second dwellings, in many cases, are passed down from generation to generation for extended families to enjoy.
According to the Maine Realtors Association, 67% to 75% of Maine second homeowners are Mainers. This fee/tax would have taken even more money from the wallets of Maine residents, all of whom have already paid a real estate transfer tax, property taxes, and a rental tax, if applicable.
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