Homeowners who qualify for Maine’s Homestead Exemption program will receive checks for about $100 early next year.
Roughly 305,000 homeowners are expected to be eligible for the property tax relief, the state's treasurer said.
The refund is contained in a bipartisan tax package put together by House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport.
It amends a previous law, which provided that when the relief fund achieved a certain balance, a rebate would be sent to all property taxpayers in Maine.
The original 2012 law, which passed under Republican Gov. Paul LePage, was promoted by Republicans and chiefly opposed by Democrats at the time.
The new bill, which renamed the fund, limits the rebate to those taxpayers who are also part of the Homestead Exemption program.
The rebate will now apply when the amount in the relief fund is enough to pay all participants in the Homestead Exemption program at least $100, among several changes to the program the Legislature made in 2019.
“Maine people made clear they want property tax relief,” Beck said in a news release posted on the state treasurer website. It noted that the bill would provide about $30 million in direct relief to property taxpayers.
Republican leaders took issue with Democrats taking the credit.
“It is unconscionable that a State Treasurer whose job is to serve all of the people of Maine should make such a misleading, partisan statement transferring credit from those who fought for this tax refund back in 2012 to those who voted against it,” Senate Minority Leader Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro said in a statement.
According to the Treasurer’s news release, “the Homestead exemption … program provides a measure of property tax relief for certain individuals that have owned homestead property in Maine for at least 12 months and make the property they occupy on April 1 their permanent residence. Property owners would receive an exemption of $20,000.”