As Maine people file their taxes today, Paul LePage is campaigning on the claim that when he was in office, he cut taxes for Maine people across the board. In reality, he merely shifted how they were paid, leaving more middle class Mainers to foot the bill.
While LePage likes to tout his income tax cut, what he doesn’t often talk about is how he paid for it: he pushed through cuts to municipal revenue sharing, which forced cash-strapped municipalities to raise property taxes to make up the difference, and he increased the sales tax, which drove up the cost of goods for middle class Maine people.
To make it worse, LePage eliminated a popular property tax relief program, replacing it with a less generous one, and he tried to eliminate the state’s homestead exemption. The state’s sales tax increase under his watch wasn’t even as high as he once proposed. The result? When LePage left office, Maine’s low- and middle-income households paid more in taxes than Maine’s wealthiest households.
“While Paul LePage likes to claim that he cut taxes for all Mainers, the reality is that all he did was shift the tax burden to the shoulders of middle class Maine people, increasing their property taxes and driving up the costs of goods by increasing the sales tax,” said Gaetan Davis, Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party. “Governor Mills and Democrats in the Legislature have plans to deliver tax relief and give back the surplus to help Maine people with high costs, but if LePage is reelected, property taxes and sales taxes are likely to go through the roof—just like during his previous time in office.”
Since LePage left office, Governor Mills has worked with both parties in the legislature to undo much of the damage LePage caused. She has restored revenue sharing, met the state’s obligation to pay 55 percent of the cost of K-12 education for the first time in Maine history, increased tax relief, and is working on plans to deliver unprecedented tax relief to Maine people..