Jay's World of Abstracts 00025


"Economic Cleansing" --Lessons from Maine

by Mary Adams, "The Adams Report"

[Standard disclaimer: The nature of abstracts are that they are pieces of something larger. Not everyone is going to be happy with my choice of abstracts from any larger work, so if you are dissatisfied, I would refer you to the original document, which should be able to be found on the Internet. I encourage others to make their own abstracts to satisfy their needs. I would be happy to publish them here.

Jay's Introduction

This article is about Act 60, which significantly raised property taxes in the Northeast to get more money for schools. Because of this, many poor people were forced to leave their ancestral homes to go into public housing or simply leave their state, because they could not afford to pay the new taxes on homes they had owned free-and-clear for years.

This highlights one of the problems of being poor in America: If you have something desirable, a way can be found to take it away. I have heard people say (I have said it, too) that if we could get Californians with money to move here, we could really help this town. Perhaps, in light of this article, that would be the WORST thing to do!

I produced this abstract using time paid for by the Quay County Maternal Child and Community Health Council with funds from the New Mexico Department of Health.

Abstracts

The Maine mystique of picturesque fishing villages peopled by Downeast natives who say "Ayah", disappeared with the high tax bills. The houses have been restored and the properties cared for, but towns like Castine and Camden are heavily populated with retired ad executives and former FBI agents, the types who thought the price and tax bills on their newly-purchased homes were reasonable compared to where they came from.

By buying at the new price, they were actually driving up the taxes for their neighbors. That’s the nature of a state property tax scheme.

[...]

Not only does the culture shift but a state property tax carries inflation into the door yard of people who found that their annual tax bill was equal to what they had originally paid for the house.

The tax was enacted in the name of children, with no thought to whether those children, once grown, could ever own a home with the tax burden it created.

"They took away our right to be poor" was the comment of a young couple, trying to subsist on a piece of land in Waldo County in the 1970s when Maine had its run-in with the monstrous tax. York County, with so much coastal property, first felt the impact of social change created by it.

[...]

If government agents were sent from Montpelier to target specific towns, going door to door and driving out all owners on fixed incomes or lower incomes who couldn’t provide the money necessary to fuel the appetite of the state, replacing them with people whose bank accounts were larger, there would be a scandal of national proportions.

Yet, in time, Act 60 will do the same thing.

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