In case you missed it, Paul LePage recently suggested that, if he is reelected to an unprecedented third term this fall, he would slash funding for schools and municipalities.
In a radio interview with former Republican candidate for Governor Shawn Moody – who once famously said that Maine schools are “overfunded” – LePage trashed Governor Mills’ bipartisan restoration of five percent in municipal revenue sharing, suggesting the program which helps fund critical services like emergency response and law enforcement is unnecessary if both schools and these critical services are slashed:
“[Gov. Mills is] talking about revenue sharing five percent. Well, why don't we rightsize our schools and rightsize our governments, and then we could literally lower property taxes and they wouldn't need revenue sharing."
This is not the first time LePage has gone after school funding or the municipal revenue sharing program. LePage tried to cut education funding as governor and repeatedly attacked Maine public schools and Maine educators, calling them “a dime a dozen.” LePage also recently claimed that he fully funded education at the required 55 percent – a charge called out as untrue by multiple media outlets. In fact, Governor Mills fully funded schools for the first time in Maine history.
As governor, LePage also ravaged municipal revenue sharing, cutting the program well below the legally-required 5 percent in order to help pay for tax cuts for wealthy Mainers. The result was that municipalities around the state faced enormous budget difficulties and were forced to raise property taxes in order to fund critical services like police, fire, and public schools. Governor Mills, on the other hand, worked with the Legislature in a bipartisan manner to fully restore revenue sharing, sending much needed resources back to towns to fund these services and help hold down the need for property tax increases.
LePage’s latest radio comments demonstrate that he is once again preparing to target education funding and municipal revenue sharing, turning back the clock on progress achieved under Governor Mills.
“When Paul LePage was governor, his tax cut for the rich forced devastating cuts for critical services like fire, police, and public schools and a spike in property taxes for Mainers,” said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “Now that Governor Mills and the Legislature have worked together to restore this critical funding and relieve pressure on Maine’s towns and taxpayers, LePage is again targeting municipal revenue sharing and, seemingly, even education funding. LePage’s priorities are wrong for Maine, and we simply can’t risk putting him in office and turning back the clock on all of Maine’s progress.”