Bill would have imposed fees or local option taxes on Mainers’ second homes
In the Legislature, there’s always a first. That proved to be true for LD 1337, An Act to Increase Affordable Housing and Reduce Property Taxes Through an Impact Fee on Vacant Residences, otherwise known as the “Camp Tax” bill.
Sponsored by Rep. Chris Kessler (D-South Portland), the bill was voted down 31-3 in the Senate and 76-53 in the House. In the Taxation committee, the bill was voted along party lines with Sen. Ben Chipman (D-Cumberland), Sen. Nate Libby (D-Androscoggin), Rep. Maureen Terry (D-Gorham), Rep. Joe Perry (D-Bangor), Rep. Lori Gramlich (D-Old Orchard Beach), Rep. Melanie Sachs (D-Freeport), Rep. Ben Collings (D-Portland), and Rep. Ann Matlack (D-St. George) voting “ought to pass as amended,” and Sen. Matt Pouliot (R-Kennebec), Rep. Bickford (R-Auburn), Rep. Micky Carmichael (R-Greenbush), and Rep. Joel Stetkis (R-Canaan) voting “ought not to pass.”
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce opposed this legislation because it was nothing more than a local option tax bill. It would have allowed a municipality to essentially enact a local option fee / tax on vacant residential property (residential property that is not occupied by a permanent resident). This new fee or tax could have been applied to Mainers’ camps or second homes. The so-called “fee” or local option tax was not defined in the bill so one could have only guessed or speculated the amount the fee would have been. The municipality would have been required to use the fees / taxes collected to increase or improve the affordability of year-round residential housing within the municipality. The bill was just one more attempt at resurrecting a local option tax after failed attempts last session.
The process by which the committee dealt with LD 1337 illustrates the issue of the lack of transparency during the 130th Legislature. Amendments were often offered during work sessions with no ability by the public to see them prior or, in some cases, no ability to comment on them at all. Thankfully in the end, the bill was defeated.
If you have any questions, please contact Linda Caprara by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 106, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.