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Old 10-31-2012, 04:33 PM
Location: Central Maine
2,868 posts, read 2,842,536 times
Reputation: 3976


Why do I keep hearing that Maine is an "expensive" state to live in? It has a 5% sales tax, cheapest only next to New Hampshire and the property taxes are cheaper than the rest of New England from what I see. I don' know what the income tax is like but I can't imagine it is that bad. Are there other taxes and fees I am not seeing?
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:12 PM
Location: Northern Maine
9,481 posts, read 14,283,094 times
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Maine has a sales tax
Income tax
Pensions are taxed
Excise tax on cars (every year)
Excise tax on boats
Excise tax on airplanes
High gas tax

There are many more. That said, our food costs seem to be lower than NH.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:25 PM
Location: The Woods
16,454 posts, read 21,465,702 times
Reputation: 8410
Real estate is largely cheaper in Maine. NH property taxes can be brutal. A lot of the nickel and dime taxes can be avoided in various ways (back when I was in Northern VT, I noticed half of the out of staters seeking tax free shopping in NH had Maine plates). Maine is expensive compared to some states, but compared to the rest of the region, it's the cheapest. No matter which of the 3 Northern New England states you live in, you'll basically get hammered for the same amount in taxes, they just each have their creative ways of getting them. ME has a small tax on everything, NH has its high property tax and various expensive fees (i.e., car registration), VT loves to have a tax on everything but does cap its property taxes as a percentage of your income if you fall within certain income amounts. The entire Northeast is a blackhole of jobs and high costs of living.

Keep in mind that unless you have a woodstove and a free/cheap wood supply, heating season is long and can be expensive.

BTW: it's really funny, but I was in Maine a couple weeks ago, and gas was cheaper in Maine (Bangor area) by nearly 20 cents compared to the towns in NH and VT I went through. I can't figure that one out.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:38 PM
7,320 posts, read 8,979,795 times
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If someone refers to Maine as being expensive, then he's probably referring to the Portland area, which can be somewhat pricey give its small city status. Otherwise, Maine isn't expensive...but finding work is the biggest hurdle.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:49 PM
Location: Maine
2,271 posts, read 5,537,409 times
Reputation: 2522
It is all relative, isn't it?

We live in the Portland area (Falmouth). We moved here a few years ago after having lived in Bangor, ME. and Belfast, ME, and the Berkshires (Western MA), and Las Cruces, NM. The cheapest place by far was NM. (BTW, I grew up in South Portland, ME.)

When you look at salary and housing costs, the Portland area is relatively expensive. Compared to Boston or NYC, not as much. But, the wages here are not great in general.

Just drove up the coast to our house in Northport (near Camden.) Got gas for $3.54 as opposed to $3.78 round here.

We pay $2495 for rent right now for a 3200 sq foot house with an inground pool in Falmouth. We paid $3000/mo(heat included) for 4000 sq foot duplex in the west end of Portland, (and coincidentally , $1600/mo for a nice house in NM, when DH made about $100,000 more than here.)

Can you tell that Las Cruces was a better deal for us? YES.

As much as I love my home state and the area I grew up in, I am not convinced that the average wage can sustain average housing, at least in the Portland area.

Last edited by lawmom; 10-31-2012 at 07:13 PM..
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:54 PM
Location: Caribou, Me.
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It seems to me that many people in Maine are doing just fine, not sure what the complaints are for.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:24 PM
Location: Forests of Maine
29,719 posts, read 47,472,880 times
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There a few places where I could not afford to live on my pension [like my home state].

When we were preparing for my retirement, we reviewed a lot of different states. Eventually we decided to move to Maine for our retirement, without ever actually visiting Maine. But from everything else we had learned. So there were a few surprises for us living here. It has been worth it.

Maine has a high 'tax burden'. What people forget is that most of Maine's tax revenue comes from corporations and businesses, and not individuals. So there is often a mistaken assumption that taxes are high on individuals or families. It makes a good sound-bite during political campaigns, to make voters think they pay more taxes than someone somewhere else.

It is possible to live in Maine in an inexpensive manner. It is possible to live in Maine without being burned by high taxes. The Cost-of-living is low, and the system of taxation is easy to figure out.

Incomes are taxed [like in most states]; pensions are taxed [like in most states]; and vehicles are taxed [like in most states]. But most pensions are low enough that they slide below the trip-wire for actually paying income taxes. As to vehicles, drive a new vehicle and you pay more tax; drive an expensive vehicle and you pay more tax. Conversely drive an old vehicle and you pay less tax; drive a cheaper vehicle and you pay less tax. You can own automobiles in Maine and you pay $15/year in excise tax. The choice is yours.

Real estate is cheap. Property taxes are low.

[ I think it makes people happy to complain ]
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:58 AM
3,024 posts, read 2,860,407 times
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Originally Posted by lawmom View Post

(and coincidentally , $1600/mo for a nice house in NM, when DH made about $100,000 more than here.)
Whoa! Is this a typo? That's a pretty huge pay cut! (Unless he makes close to a million dollars or something)
We don't even make that in a year, and we live in expensive So Cal!
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:43 AM
Location: Cooper Maine
533 posts, read 586,738 times
Reputation: 492
Less people means higher taxes per person.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:30 AM
393 posts, read 789,468 times
Reputation: 297
health insurance is more expensive in Maine
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