Augusta – Among the measures presented to legislative committees recently were four bills aimed at assisting Maine’s retirees.
Senator Linda Baker (R-Sagadahoc) presented LD 625 “An Act To Increase the Tax Exemption for Pensions,” which would increase the current $10,000 pension deduction amount provision to $15,000.
“Increasing the current $10,000 pension deduction amount provision to $15,000 would enable some citizens to consider maintaining residency here. It would send the message that Maine is willing to make amends with its retirees and willing to hear their pleas for some tax consideration and relief,” said Senator Baker. “Maintaining a larger number of retirees in Maine would mean more jobs and an additional boost to our economy.”
Senator Paul Davis (R-Piscataquis) presented LD 212, “An Act Concerning Cost-of-living Adjustments for Certain Retirees,” which restores the previous cost-of-living adjustment cap of 4% for benefits received by a retired state employee, teacher, judge and legislator whose spouse received social security benefits and has passed away.
“Many of my retired constituents have spoken to me about the difficulties of living on a single pension. Folks who draw a pension from MePERS do not receive a Social Security benefit, and the Social Security offset means they are often entitled to very little of their spouse’s benefit,” said Senator Davis. “These are folks who have contributed to our great state their entire lives, and this bill is one way we can ensure they have a little less to worry about in retirement.”
Senator David Woodsome (R-York) presented LD 518, “An Act To Clarify and Protect Certain Public Service Retirement Benefits,” which returns a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) as a benefit under the Maine Public Service Retirement System (MePERS).
“It only makes sense that Maine’s retirement system would mirror the federal Social Security,” said Senator Woodsome. “By recognizing that a COLA is a benefit, and therefore a contractual obligation, we can provide peace of mind to a large portion of Maine’s population who spent their working lives devoted to our state.”
Senator Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) presented LD 1070, “An Act To Retain More Retirees in Maine,” which reduces taxes for retirees by phasing out, over four years, the income tax on retirement benefit plan and individual retirement account benefits. The bill also, over 4 years, phases in conformity of the Maine estate tax with the exclusion amount under the federal estate tax.
“By reducing the tax burden on Maine’s retirees, we are giving them incentive to remain as residents in our state,” said Senator Saviello. “Maine’s senior citizens have contributed much to Maine throughout their lives, and continue to even after retirement. It not only benefits them, but all of us, to ensure that they have a reason to stay in Maine.”