Maine Revenue Services will be accepting Property Tax and Rent Refund applications beginning on August 1st. The program will allow income-eligible Maine residents to apply for refunds for assessed property tax or rent paid during 2006.
Residents may qualify for a refund if they are single and their 2006 household income was less than $80,750, or they were married and their joint income was less than $105,750. A resident’s 2006 prop-erty tax also must have been more than four percent of their 2006 household income, or the rent they paid must have been more than 20 percent of their household income.
Seniors qualify for the program as long as their income is below $13,200 if they live alone or below $16,300 if they live with a spouse or dependant.
Maine Revenue Services estimates that nearly 200,000 Maine residents qualify for the program. An application can be submitted on-line at www.maine. gov/revenue or a hardcopy can be requested by contacting Maine Revenue Services at 626-9694 or the House Republican Office at 287-1440.
Bt Corn Gets Go Ahead
Last Friday the Maine Board of Pesticides Control approved the use of Bt corn in the state. Maine was the only state in the nation that had not approved the use of Bt corn, a scientifically-modified crop that produces the organic toxin Bacillus thuringiensis, which is naturally occurring in soil. Bt corn is favored because it is highly resistant to insects.
The board voted 6-0 to allow the use of Bt corn. They also agreed to develop rules that would reduce the chance of cross pollination with organic farmers, many of whom opposed the use of Bt corn.
Farmers in favor of lifting the ban told the pesticide board that it will allow them to cut down on the use of pesticides, as well as make their farms more competitive with farms out-of-state. It is estimated that the use of Bt corn will increase harvests an estimated 10 percent.
Proof of Citizenship needed
A new federal law will go into effect on August 1 that will require all MaineCare recipients to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. The federal law was part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
MaineCare, the state’s version of Medicaid, provides low-income Mainers with health insurance. MaineCare is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
On August 1, anyone who currently receives or may want to apply for MaineCare benefits will have to prove their U.S. citizenship and identity. Those who cannot will not receive the benefits. For those individuals who are currently en-rolled in MaineCare, the new documentation requirement will be addressed during their next scheduled benefits review.
Anyone who has questions or needs assistance obtaining docu-ments for verification can contact the Citizenship and Identity hotline at 1-800-701-1887.
As always, I encourage you to send me your thoughts, ideas, questions and opinions. You can contact me for more information on this or any other issue at 563-5427 or by e-mail at Jon (at) JonMcKane (dot) com.
By Jon Mckane, Wiscasset Newspaper