Vacant Homes in Maine
Recently I came across this shocking statistic . . . Maine has the highest number of vacant homes in the country at 22.8 percent (from the U.S. Census Bureau via USA Today). That’s nearly one out of every four homes!
More specifically, vacant homes in this case is a reflection of all the snow-birds in Maine who simply weren’t home when the Census canvassed the state. Yet, this new data begs the obvious question . . . how will Maine build a year-round economy with so many part-time residents?
John R. Williams
Posted on Jul 20, 2011
There are two factors that immediately come to my mind. 1) Many retirees do not want to come to Maine when they can go to other states where their pensions are not taxed. These retirees can afford property taxes, use local services, medical facilities, and their year around presence would help the overall economy. They choose to make another state their primary residence and split their spending by seeking a better haven for retirees. 2) Communities in Maine are not encouraged to adhere to fiscal responsibility. In some areas, 70 to 80 percent of the people paying property taxes are "from away." Because of this, they have no voice in local spending as they can not vote in municipal elections that determine fiscal policy. The attitude is often heard that the money spent is from the "foreigners". Because of this, monies are often spent on wasteful items that do not yield long term benefit. Investments that could yield economic growth are ignored. I believe that eight States allow property owners to vote in local elections in order to eliminate:TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Perhaps it is time for Maine to get back to the basic idea of the American Revolution that supported this policy...
Posted on Aug 04, 2011
I recently attended an annual "informational "meeting for non-resident taxpayers, held by the Town's Selectmen. The Selectmen were confronted by a request from a person from away to change the Town's annual Town meeting from March to sometime in the summer when "People From Away (PFA)" could attend, not to vote, not to participate in discussion, but just to witness the meeting. One of the Selectmen said, "... Not going to happen...history is against this...". In this case, 20% of the tax payers spend 100% of the money. This is a town, where many folks lack potable water, a town with a failing electrical cooperative (electricity is $0.39/kwh), a town that spends over $200,000 to educate a student to the point of dropping out of school, a town that has crumbling town roads, a town that has no growth plan, etc. This is a town that could benefit from including it's many PFA in it's future.