Governor Janet Mills signed into law a bipartisan bill sponsored by House Assistant Majority Leader Ryan Fecteau that will expand the amount of affordable housing in Maine. The Governor signed the bill during a ceremony in the Cabinet Room where she was joined by Rep. Fecteau, Sen. Matt Pouliot (R-Kennebec), and other Republican and Democrat legislators, as well as housing advocates.
LD 1645, An Act To Create Affordable Workforce and Senior Housing and Preserve Affordable Rural Housing, as amended by the legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs committee, doubles the current rate of new affordable housing production by creating the Maine Affordable Housing Tax Credit program. The refundable credit, which would be administered by the Maine State Housing Authority, would be available to individuals or corporations who invest in affordable housing. The program would be capped at $10 million per year for eight years, with portions earmarked for senior housing and rural housing. It would also leverage an equal amount of federal low-income housing tax credit dollars.
Rep. Fecteau worked with a bipartisan coalition of housing advocates, contractors, engineers, and local officials to develop the proposal. It draws on the existing state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, as well as similar laws in more than a dozen other states, including Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. According to the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, only about 52 available affordable housing units exist for every 100 Maine families earning 30 percent or less of the median income.