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Old 11-18-2009, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,314,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
Although you have stated your property taxes in Maine are very low, why do others on different forums warn people about the high property taxes in Maine ?

Is your property an abnormality or are the many other Maine people's taxes an abnormality ?
I think that the OP was about: "country lifestyle in the northeast", and had nothing about taxes in it.
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:02 PM
 
603 posts, read 1,773,322 times
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Well of course i want some place with a low cost of living

I've been on the Maine forum before and i've also heard how their taxes are high.I've browsed the real estate websites and do not consider the property taxes high,but i also have not researched the many other taxes.I know about the excise tax but thats about it.I've only been to Maine once and it was absolutely breathtaking.I don't really hear positive things about the economy there though.Even before this recession.Like i said,i browse the real estate websites for different states all the time and i ALWAYS find hundreds of homes in Maine for VERY cheap.It seems that state is LOADED with old homes just bursting with character.I just don't want to have my heart set on Maine if its not going to be realistic.

I've never even considered Jersey.I don't know if i would.Thank you for the suggestion though.


Pennsylvania has crossed my mind but haven't looked into in too much.
I guess if money wasn't an issue i'd go with upstate NY or Maine.You only live once so why not find that special place that makes you happy.
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Old 11-18-2009, 06:19 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
I think that the OP was about: "country lifestyle in the northeast", and had nothing about taxes in it.
When one states they will still have to work after re-locating, cost of living will be a concern. ( property taxes are part of cost of living)

When one still has to work, wage scale compared against cost of living is always used by sane people making decisions and comparisons.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,314,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogcrazy View Post
Well of course i want some place with a low cost of living

I've been on the Maine forum before and i've also heard how their taxes are high. I've browsed the real estate websites and do not consider the property taxes high, but i also have not researched the many other taxes.
All of Maine is drawn out in a grid work of townships, everywhere you go in Maine you are in a 'town'.

Most of Maine is rural.

52% of Maine's towns are unorganized, they have no local government. No city clerk, no building inspector, no city hall; so all of those municipal services which would be paid from higher property taxes, are missing.

As you go into more highly populated towns, you get into some that are 'organized' and provide a wide array of municipal services, which cost money. That money comes from property taxes.

The adjoining town that borders my town on our West side has a property tax mil-rate that is twice ours. Their city hall is a steel warehouse with offices inside, 2 clerks, and a selection of town officials all drawing pay-checks.

The adjoining town to our South has a mil-rate that is triple of ours. Their city hall is a nice new brick building, they have a brand new Police Department and Fire Department. They provide sewer treatment and water treatment, they have a Rec department, and lots of folks on city pay-roll.

Generally as you travel South in Maine, you see higher population densities, towns that provide more layers of services and have more folks on pay-roll, and therefore they tend to have higher taxes.

I have over-heard some folks referring to this phenomena as the 'Volvo-line'. A line where on the North side life is rural and taxes are low, but on the South side the population density is much higher and taxes are higher.

My town is an 'Unorganized Township' [UT]. We have no body on pay-roll. We pay our property taxes directly to the state, who provides stuff county-wide to us. Our town was once organized, but the residents burned their charter, because they did not 'want' those higher taxes.

Aside from that I bought forested land. Maine also has a series of legal status' that land can be in which lower the assessed value, to protect that type of land. Forests or any land which focuses of growing trees, is in 'Treegrowth' status and each acre's assessed value is set at a very low amount.

Maine has the same types of programs for farmland, open space, and working waterfront. To keep these type of properties from becoming too developed.

My forested land is in 'Treegrowth' status. I can have wood-lot, or fruit orchards, or Christmas trees, or a tree nursery.

It is possible to live in Maine and to pay less than a dollar per acre for your property taxes.

It is possible to do this in most of Maine.



Quote:
... I know about the excise tax but thats about it.
Yes the excise taxes are based on the vehicle's MSRP and it's age. A set percentage for the year of manufacture, and with each year the vehicle ages the percentage decreases.

New or expensive vehicles pay higher taxes [as high as thousands of dollars the first year], while cheaper or older pay lower taxes [as low as $5 /year].

Which goes back to the Volvo-line. Folks South of it are known for driving newer and more expensive types of vehicles. Whereas North of that line, well you get the idea I am sure.



Quote:
... I've only been to Maine once and it was absolutely breathtaking. I don't really hear positive things about the economy there though. Even before this recession.
True.

The housing bubble never really effected Maine, so the housing bust has not effected Maine either.

Maine's economy busted when they invented refrigeration and the ice-block shipping industry went flat.

They have had many small industries come and go, but none of them have been able to bring 'prosperity' back to Maine.

Maine has been experiencing a depressed economy for decades.



Quote:
... Like i said, i browse the real estate websites for different states all the time and i ALWAYS find hundreds of homes in Maine for VERY cheap. It seems that state is LOADED with old homes just bursting with character. I just don't want to have my heart set on Maine if its not going to be realistic.
Yes, I see 3bdrm homes selling for $40k.

But it has no connection to the current recession, it is just Maine.



Quote:
... I've never even considered Jersey. I don't know if i would. Thank you for the suggestion though.

Pennsylvania has crossed my mind but haven't looked into in too much. I guess if money wasn't an issue i'd go with upstate NY or Maine. You only live once so why not find that special place that makes you happy.
I like rural.

The option of having chickens, goats, sheep, horses, hogs, bees.

Kayaks in the water right behind my house. I can hunt from my porch. I can fish, I can trap beaver. I have been planting ginseng on the forest floor, and greenhouses and raised bed gardens.

For me, it is great.

But rural is not for everyone.

I have a pension, so I do not require a job. This is a low cost place, where my pension can support a family.

There are few places where my small pension could support a family.

Here a minimum-wage income is enough to raise a family. In my travels across the nation, that is rare.

A low cost-of-living starts with low taxes.

If there were high paying jobs in abundance, then instantly folks who move in and demand lots of municipal services. New roads would get paved with storm drains and sidewalks, and new schools would be built, and hundreds of new LEO and Firemen would be hired to protect and serve. Parks would be built with play grounds that had 24/7 lighting. Shopping malls would move in, and our windows would begin shaking from the muzak screaming from kids cars.

Our home prices would soar and our taxes would too.

No thanks.

Land here can be bought for $300/acre, homes begin at $40k, and some highschools have less than 100 kids in their graduating classes.

Let me give you an example of life here: I took my car in today for the brakes to be serviced. I parked in the lot, went inside, sat down and got into a conversation with another guy waiting, he had finished smoking a batch of deer sausage and gave me some. After a while a mechanic came out to say that my car was done, he asked if I was going to pay now or if it would go on a tab, and he asked when I was going to bring in my wife's car. I had not been in that shop for over a year. But he knew me, and he knew what needed to be done to my car. I have never ran a tab anywhere, but this is a different kind of place.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Jefferson County
380 posts, read 1,013,204 times
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After that post, Forest, I want to move to Maine. But, my wife will not move to a climate any colder than what we have now here in WV.
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,314,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clintsullivan View Post
After that post, Forest, I want to move to Maine. But, my wife will not move to a climate any colder than what we have now here in WV.
Really?

Maine does have problems. Mostly focused in the Southern most, South Eastern corner.

We are not perfect.
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Old 11-19-2009, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Jefferson County
380 posts, read 1,013,204 times
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Yep, sounds like a near perfect lifestyle. Just want to raise some goats, bees & chickens and grow some food. Maybe head out a few days a week for just enough work to pay the bills but pay as little tax as possible.
But, Maine's climate and fiscal & regulatory policies are not for us.
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,314,105 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by clintsullivan View Post
Yep, sounds like a near perfect lifestyle. Just want to raise some goats, bees & chickens and grow some food. Maybe head out a few days a week for just enough work to pay the bills but pay as little tax as possible. But, Maine's climate and fiscal & regulatory policies are not for us.
True we do get some white-stuff. Not as much as folks get down in the snow-belt, but we do get some.

Along the coast they get an entirely different winter.

I know a farmer who grows peaches, and he does really good with his peaches. Peaches can not survive a hard-freeze.

Most folks would assume that peaches were not possible in Maine, but he does fine with peaches.



"fiscal & regulatory policies": mmm.

I have owned property in California, in Washington, in Connecticut and in Scotland; prior to moving to Maine.

IMHO every area has some level of regulations.

How a state handles it's budget, seems far out of my league, and I am not sure has any real bearing on what I have done, or do, anywhere that I have lived.

I know that here building codes are pretty relaxed, they are completely at the discretion of the town. I routinely see things that violate the 'National building codes', but the inspectors here do not care.

As a land-owner I 'feel' like I am pretty much left alone and allowed to mostly do as I please, within very loose guidelines. I do have a couple of brochures of things that must be done within guidelines, but these are Federal requirements and not state, and are only being enforced by the state.
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:11 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
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I don't think your portrayal of Maine is very accurate at all FBK, maybe with rose colored glasses, but certainly not reality. As someone once said, Maine is always in a recession and that certainly is the truth.

Our taxes are high because everything has a tax or increasingly so..."fees". A fee to buy a barrel of oil, a fee to buy an appliance, a fee to buy a battery. Its never ending here, but that stems from being a very liberal state and when that happens, we all know what happens to property taxes. With over 50% of the working population working for government of some type, there is no question that we pay dearly through the nose just to survive here.

But you neglected to mention utility bills...the highest electric rates in the nation. Its listed as only 10 cents a kw, but we are a deregulated power state, so it costs us another 7 cents to get it to our homes. We pay 17 cents a kw in the end while North Dakota only pays 7 cents per kw. Most states pay close to that...not what we pay. And our gasoline taxes...in addition to our excise tax, is around 27 cents a gallon if memory serves me right. Its like 54 cents a gallon here in taxes for gas.

For years and years we had the highest taxes per capita in the Nation, but the powers that be hated that so they changed the rules. They decided since many retires reside in Maine only in the summer, they no longer counted which changed the stats. The reality is, nothing changed when it comes to paying taxes. We pay dearly.

As for climate, you have not seen anything yet. The last few years have not had much snow, but in 35 years here I have seen wet years and dry years, cold years and warm years, and if the 10 year weather cycle is holding true, we are about to get a very snowy year. Last year it hit -45.2 below...in F...without factoring in windchill. In 1993 we had snow 5-6 feet deep in the woods, and cold temperatures to boot. Those days will return at some point...they always do.

I should not even get started on the hypocricy of tree growth. That is a tax evasion strategy that just puts higher taxes on the other landowners in town. If you are not paying your fair share then it goes onto to everyone else you know? It's not like the State of Maine is actually paying the towns for the acreage enrolled in that program, but because you do not live in an organized town, you don't know that. The state right now is not paying for much...foster parents included, or farmers reimbursement payments which they promised us, which I happen to be both. Its not a good time to be a Maine Resident, but this is my home and so I stay, even if I pay dearly for it.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Jefferson County
380 posts, read 1,013,204 times
Reputation: 103
Broken, I think you pretty much gave a 'state of the nation' speech; it's not just Maine.

State wise, Missouri keeps popping up on my radar as a good possibility. It seems to have one of the best overall ratings (When filtering out the ultra libertarian issues) in the rankings of Freedoms within the US. But I think my upcoming move will be within WV and not accross the Mississippi. WV is not the best when it comes to regulation & fiscal issues, but it far exceeds many states in constitutional freedoms like property rights & personal defense.
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