AUGUSTA — Active duty military members stationed out of state, or those deployed for more than 180 days, soon may not have to pay excise taxes.

Augusta city councilors expressed support for the proposal at their meeting Thursday. All councilors, and Mayor David Rollins, agreed to sponsor a proposal that could go to councilors for a vote at their Nov. 21 meeting.

The proposal would allow active duty military personnel stationed out of state, or reserve members deployed by the military for more than 180 days, to avoid paying excise taxes to the city when they register their road-going vehicles in Augusta.

A state law passed in 2011 allows municipalities to enact ordinances to exempt vehicles registered in Maine by residents who are on active duty serving in the United States Armed Forces — and are either permanently stationed at a military post out of state or deployed for military service for more than 180 days — from being subject to excise taxes.

The proposal to do so in Augusta was sponsored by Ward 4 Councilor Eric Lind. He retired as the assistant adjutant general of the Maine Air National Guard, after 38 years of service, last month.

“We are a military-friendly city and I think this is the right thing to do,” Lind said. “When you join the military you identify a home of record. Then you go around the world and, hopefully, you come back. I think it’s our obligation to help our neighbors who serve us.”

The state law allowing municipalities to offer the exemption does not require the military member be in combat, just on active duty out of state or deployed for more than 180 days.

“They could be at Fort Dix or Afghanistan, as long as they’ve been there six months,” Ward 1 Councilor Linda Conti said. “It’s not like it’s every veteran, it’s people that are away from home.”

City Manager William Bridgeo said other Maine municipalities offering the exemption include Lewiston, Bangor and Scarborough.

Asked what the effect would be on the city by At-Large Councilor Marci Alexander, Bridgeo said officials would have to estimate the fiscal impact, but said they don’t think it would have a large one.

To apply for the exemption, a resident would have to provide to the city an official certification from the commander of the resident’s post, station or base that they are permanently stationed at that location or deployed for more than 180 days.


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