Maine Land Bank and
Community Preservation Program

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This is an archived website

It documents the activity on the Maine Land Bank
during 2002 and 2003. It is our hope that it will serve
as an inspiration to people in other states and, possibly,
even to our own leaders here at home.

New!  See our Maine Land Bank White Paper!

Current Status:

December 4, 2003: The Taxation Committee of the Legislature voted 11-0 that LD 951 should be sent on with an Ought Not To Pass recommendation.  For LD 938 (the constitutional amendment), the bill was forwarded with 7 voting ONTP and 4 voting Ought To Pass As Amended, that amendment being a constitutional amendment proposed by Representative Jon Courtney (R-Sanford) that would implement Limited Market Value in 2005, replacing the Maine Land Bank constitutional amendment.

These actions were taken with the understanding from legislative leadership that Representative Leila Percy and members of the Maine Land Bank Committee would have a seat at the table when leadership develops the comprehensive tax reform package that it hopes to pass in the next session.

Although this signals the end of current legislative consideration of the Maine Land Bank, it may usher in an era of increased collaboration and ultimate enactment of some form of land-bank-like legislation.  Only time will tell.

DRH, 12/4/03

May 16, 2003: The Taxation Committee of the Legislature voted unanimously to carry both LD 938 (the constitutional amendment) and LD 951 (the Land Bank statutes) over to the next session.  This means that there will be no action on these bills this year since the special summer session of the legislature chose not to deal with comprehensive tax reform.  Without action prior to Labor Day, the earliest that the constitutional amendment could be voted upon is November, 2004 and the earliest that the statutes could take effect is in 2005.

Our supporting legislators inform us that the "double carry over" is a huge victory for us.  While it's true we've come a long way since October, 2002, from an idea to the last legislative cut, only in Augusta can it be considered a "victory" when you don't lose.  But considering the number of bills rejected outright by the Taxation Committee, it's an accurate assessment, and we're encouraged by the Land Bank's continued legislative life.

In early June, the Taxation Committee gave up on comprehensive tax reform, choosing instead to focus on a measure to compete with the Maine Municipal Association's referendum question, which they claim constitutionally limits their ability to pass any related measures prior to the resolution of the MMA question on election day in November.

An event which went largely unreported in the press that will definitely have an impact on future events is the fact that Carol Palesky submitted her signatures to put her tax cap initiative on the ballot in 2004.  Assuming that the signatures are valid and sufficient in number (both problems in past efforts), this event could change the taxation landscape considerably.

In the meantime, encouraged by the legislative "carry over," proponents for the Maine Land Bank and Community Preservation Program will continue to refine and build support for this innovative solution to the problem of excessive assessments.

Please continue to check this site for updates as they happen and we thank you for your interest and support of the Maine Land Bank.  Of special note, please take a look at the proposed amendments for LD 938 and LD 951 which make the legislation more flexible in addressing homestead lands and lands used for business purposes, including working waterfront, forestry and farming.

DRH, 9/8/03

Program Information:

Land Bank Fact Sheet -- A PDF file very briefly describing the program

The Maine Land Bank and Community Preservation Program -- A PDF file describing the program in more detail.

Land Bank Constitutional Amendment -- A PDF file containing LD 938, the Maine Constitutional amendment needed to enable legislation for the Maine Land Bank Program.
    Proposed Amendment -- A PDF file containing a proposed amendment to LD 938
    which limits the program to homestead lands and lands used for business purposes,
    including working waterfront, forestry and farming.

Land Bank Legislation -- A PDF file containing LD 951, legislation creating and defining the Maine Land Bank Program.
    Proposed Amendment -- A PDF file containing a proposed amendment to LD 951
    which clarifies some definitions and administrative procedures and establishes a framework for
    differential treatment of homestead, working waterfront, forestry and farming lands.
    Possible Alternative Proposal -- A PDF file containing a possible alternative to the Maine Land Bank
    which eliminates second homes and doesn't require a constitutional amendment.

Land Bank Worksheet -- An Excel file which allows you to plug in your own property values and program assumptions and see the results.  Only the yellow highlighted cells may be changed.

State of Maine Taxation Statutes -- A PDF file from the State's website.

Newspaper/magazine articles and editorials:

  • Portland Press Herald, 2003 -- on-line poll showing strong support for the Maine Land Bank.

  • Brunswick Times Record, 8/5/03 -- Letter to the editor regarding Legislature's need to recognize threat posed by the Palesky Tax Cap and the role that Maine Land Bank could and should play.

  • Bangor Daily News, 7/11/03 -- Op/ed piece by David Hill suggesting that the Maine Land Bank could be the alternative the Legislature needs to defeat the Palesky Tax Cap

  • Portland Press Herald, 4/24/03 -- Continued editorial support of the Maine Land Bank, "Revaluation process painful, but makes tax burden fair"

  • Portland Press Herald, 4/17/03 -- Editorial in support of LD 938 and LD 951, "Coastal property-tax idea fair and worthy of support"

  • Portland Press Herald, 4/16/03 -- Article about Legislative Tax Committee public hearing

  • Portland Press Herald, 4/11/03 -- Editorial by Jim Brunelle:  "Among the best ones is the 'Chebeague plan' for tax deferral on high-value property."

  • Working Waterfront, March, 2003 -- Letter by David Hill responding to criticism of the Maine Land Bank concept.

  • Maine Townsman, February, 2003 -- Article by David Hill outlining the Maine Land Bank's value to communities.   Maine Municipal Association publication.

  • Maine Sunday Telegram, 12/29/02 -- Front page collection of articles about tax reform
    - Tax reform: Not whether, but how
    - Tax reform activists aim straight for voters
    - Readers, news staffers agree: Crisis in church is top story [Property Tax Problem on Chebeague is #3]
    - Hunger for ocean views puts pressure on a fishing village
    - Tax caps work, but curb local autonomy
    - In 2003, state's budget is key issue

  • Portland Press Herald, 12/23/02 -- Editorial supporting Maine Land Bank to preserve fisheries

  • Boston Globe, 12/8/02 -- News article highlighting property tax issues and reform efforts

  • Working Waterfront, December, 2002 -- "The Maine Land Bank: An idea whose time has come" by Donna Miller Damon

  • Portland Press Herald, 11/13/02 -- Editorial in support of exploring Maine Land Bank idea

  • Maine Sunday Telegram, 11/10/02 -- News article by Tom Bell

  • Maine Sunday Telegram, 11/03/02 -- Op/ed piece by David Hill describing the Maine Land Bank

  • Portland Phoenix, 8/15/02 -- News article about property value assessments on Chebeague Island

  • Working Waterfront, August, 2002 -- "There is nothing fair about fair market value" by Donna Miller Damon

  • Working Waterfront, March, 2002 -- "Let's protect people as well as trees!" by Donna Miller Damon

  • Past Public Presentations:

    Miscellaneous:

    For More Information: