AUGUSTA – Governor LePage said it’s time for the legislature to take action to protect elderly Mainers from losing their homes and investments.
During an interview, the governor said he was appalled to see how some towns are treating older Mainers.
Under current law cities and towns are allowed to foreclose on a home that’s all paid off, sell the property for the amount of taxes owed, and give nothing back to the homeowner.
LePage said it happens several times a year. He has a bill before lawmakers that would protect homeowners from tax lien foreclosure. He stated “What’s the justification for keeping the money? I don’t know — I see no logical explanation, I certainly see no moral explanation, and ethically would you take someone else’s money, I don’t think there’s an ethical justification, I think it’s just bad governance.”
The Maine Municipal Association opposed the original bill, but after some changes said it now supports most of it. However, the association said only 75 percent of the net sales revenue should be returned to the former owner, not all of it.
Kate Dufour from the Maine Municipal Association said “We believe there needs to be a reason for someone to be paying their taxes, they should have an incentive and by allowing someone to say I don’t want to pay taxes anymore go ahead town sell and it return net proceeds to me, we think that allows an escape clause.”
The House and Senate are expected to consider the bill this week.
The governor stated if it passes, it will be one of his biggest accomplishments.