Every year in Maine, we lose millions of dollars. Much of the money is destined for Maine programs that cover aid to Towns, Schools, Roads and the overall budget. Your local Town feels the impacts as well. Towns lose hundreds of thousand of dollars each year because of those who fail to register their vehicles in Maine.
Prior to retiring, I enforced this law since 1985, and you would be surprised to learn who these people are. As the law evolved, Ken Lemont (Kittery) and David Ott (York) strengthened the law and made it easy to prosecute.
Committing theft in Maine is criminal. However there is another form of theft and that is committed by the people who FAIL TO REGISTER THEIR MOTOR VEHICLES IN MAINE having that vehicle based, parked or garaged in Maine for over 30 days. It does not mean that your company vehicle or vehicle belonging to another is exempt. Maine case law supports this.
Ignorance is no excuse. This is how it works; excise taxes stay in the Town where the vehicle is registered. Plate fees, sales tax and other applicable fees go to the State of Maine. What is the problem? The problem is this money is yours. Imagine what could happen if every one paid their fair share and the pie was split among us all!
These people hide their vehicles down long driveways, in garages, behind their residences. They drive around all the time, dropping kids off at schools or attending Town events. They are right under your noses. Sometimes they stick out when they have signs on the side of their truck. You may know who they are, I do.
Many people who register their vehicles in another State do not pay INCOME TAX and a majority of them do not have insurance and therefore are putting our citizens at risk for uninsured motorists. There is no way to track these people who live next door to you or for the State to find their income if they are not working in Maine. Many find a way to hide reporting it. i.e. Joint Taxpayers, one spouse filing taxes and the other does not, One vehicle may be registered in Maine the other not. Business vehicles registered to their Out of State business or a borrowed long term family car. There are many excuses and mostly they are absurd. Most claim “I did not know!”
There are 21 border Towns in Maine that border NH. The problem gradients inwards and violators have even been found in the center of Maine. So more Towns are affected then the 21 border Towns. Do the math and see how much Maine loses.
It has been estimated, that each town loses over one million each year in income taxes for the State that is not paid. Hundreds of thousand of dollars is lost that is supposed to be paid to the Town. Each Town has their fair share of violations.
I worked with Two Governors of Maine on this problem. Baldacci and Lepage. Both of them recognized the issue and helped us enforce it. Did you know it is a FELONY in NH under Title Fraud to register the vehicle in NH if they are required to be register in another State.
Upon being discovered committing this violation, many run out and register the vehicles before they are approached or for other reasons that only they know. Who wants to be accused of Theft. Here comes the best part, you would be surprised of who is a violator. As I said before, they may be your family, your neighbors, your friends, Lawyers, Doctors, Law Enforcement Officers or even politicians. It affects all of us as we claim ignorance.
In my DISTRICT 2, Kittery, Eliot and South Berwick, I reached out the Dan Ammons and Michelle Meyers who are both running for Maine House of Representatives, District 2.
Candidate Dan Ammons (R) responded immediately to my request and concurred about the multiple vehicles he sees while campaigning and around Town on a daily basis. He said “all should pay their required fair share and no one is above the law.” He added there are some legitimate reasons for not registering a vehicle but the current law in Maine covers that so it is enforced fairly.
Candidate Michelle Meyers (D) was asked the same questions and she has yet to respond back to me.
Perhaps she too may have seen these violations and I will update this post as soon as she can respond. I will post her responses when I get them.
Update, on Oct 21, at 7:25 pm and after repeated emails and questions concerning Registration violations and people breaking that law as well as a few other questions asked of her, she responded. Here is her reply.
Well, ….to me this is a pretty big issue. Make no mistake about it, citizens should be CITIZEN WATCHDOGS and report these suspected violators. Ask yourself why there are always an OUT OF STATE plates in your Towns local driveways If you keep seeing one then report one, this is the best approach. Maine Registration law violators are subject to hefty fines.
The longer someone lives in Maine and commits this violation the more money they owe the State and essentially us the citizens. Just because someone runs out and registers it before they are caught does not negate the facts they were scofflaws. They still owe Maine the money.
This election should not be about party, it is about us. Ask your State and Local politician how he or she feels about those who commit these types of violations against us. Also ask them what they would do if they would know a violator. On second thought, perhaps, you might not want to but remember, it’s your money too!
Do your homework and tell your politicians they can effect change and make Maine about the people again? Maine the way Life Should be. I have to do it, so should everyone else. No one is above the law.
P.S. If any of these violator are reading this, they should know somebody knows. I plan on updating this post soon with more relevant information.
Check back frequently as more information becomes available.