The Maine State Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill which came out of the Taxation committee with an “ought-to-pass as amended” report. Sen. Ben Chipman (D-Cumberland) and 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 allow 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 be returned to the municipality it was generated in and would have to be used to support affordable housing in that particular community. The Maine State Chamber argued that this was nothing more than a back-door approach to establish a local option tax in Maine at the expense of Maine people. In addition, there would be no limit as to how much of an “impact fee” or “tax” municipalities can impose, causing “property taxes” to potentially skyrocket.
LD 1337 would allow 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 families to enjoy.
According to the Maine Realtors Association, 67% to 75% of Maine second homeowners are Mainers. This fee/tax will take 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.
A local option fee/tax creates a deeper imbalance between Maine communities, which could negatively impact property values. A locally assessed fee/tax cannot solve Maine’s affordable housing problem. We need statewide incentives for housing development, not a patchwork of local ordinances, and there are bills before the legislature right now that present a better option than taxing the traditions of Maine people!
The Maine State Chamber would like to thank Rep. Bruce Bickford for his comments on the House floor to help defeat this bill. The Maine State Chamber will continue to fight to defeat LD 1337 in the Senate, and we urge members to contact their legislators and ask them to vote no on LD 1337. Click here to view the House Roll Call and find out how your legislator voted.
If you have any questions, please contact Linda Caprara, senior government relations specialist, by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 106, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.