Maine governor breaks new ground with student tax credits

The state of Maine has raised the bar when it comes to college tax credits. Governor John Baldacci has announced a new program to provide tax credits to cover educational loan payments for any Maine resident who earns an associate or bachelor's degree at a Maine state college or university and then continues to live and work in the state.

The program, called Opportunity Maine, is being compared to the federal GI Bill, part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal legislation that provided education assistance for veterans returning from war.

The Opportunity Maine Web site describes the program as an opportunity to make higher education more affordable and to create jobs for Maine residents.

The Maine program provides a maximum annual tax credit of $2,100 per year or $8,400 for a graduate who completes four years at a Maine college. Alternatively, a Maine employer can agree to hire a graduate and take over the student loan payments and then take the credit himself.

The Opportunity Maine program is effective starting with the fall semester of 2007. Maine residents who are already enrolled in an associate or a bachelor's degree program at an accredited Maine junior college, college or university may participate.

Maine's new program is believed to be the nation's most far-reaching, according to Tony Giampetruzzi, Opportunity Maine spokesman.

You can read the full text of An Act To Allow a Tax Credit for College Loan Repayments

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