WASHINGTON, April 7, 2015 — At an April 2 town hall meeting, Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage was asked if his new budget would add to the 70,000 residents taken off the tax rolls during his first term.
“Yes. This time,” he said pointing to a copy of the state budget, “if you’re married with two children, the first $50,000 [of income] is non-taxable. By 2020, nobody in Maine is going to be taxed. Nobody in Maine will have an income tax.”
Former Democratic state legislator and Biddeford Mayor Joanne Twomey vehemently objected to the very notion that taxpayers should keep more of their income. “Poor people, Governor, can’t go to Disneyland,” said Twomey, who then threw a jar of Vaseline at LePage.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine recipients of EBT (food stamps) spent $2.8 million outside the state over the last three years, with $360,000 spent in Florida.
“One or more EBT cards were used within a three-minute time frame to access nearly $500 in welfare cash … located almost on top of the campus of Disney World Resorts,” the Maine Wire reported.
The jar of Vaseline Twomey hurled at LePage was a symbolic attempt at throwing the governor’s words back at him. In 2013, LePage attacked big-spending Democratic State Senator Troy Dale Jackson, saying he “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”
Ending Maine’s state income tax will force state legislators to prioritize government spending, forcing them to reduce or eliminate waste.
“TEA” is the acronym for the grass roots “Taxed Enough Already” movement, with which LePage is closely associated.
In explaining how “America’s craziest governor” got re-elected, POLITICO noted, “It turns out that many Mainers embraced the key goals of LePage’s governorship: cutting taxes, environmental and labor regulations, welfare services, and public spending—supposedly among the principal obstacles to improving the state’s economy, which has been sluggish for the past 150 years or so.”
For Maine Staters, more than a century of bad government is enough.
In his scathing book As Maine Went, author Mike Tipping paints LePage as a politician under the sway of corporate interests, the Koch brothers and their ideological cat’s paw, the Tea Party.
Brian Chen of the Dartmouth Review says LePage “grew up poor and with an abusive father who eventually broke his nose, causing him to run away at the age of eleven … While LePage ultimately succeeded, many of his siblings have ended up dead, in prison, or on welfare … LePage is much harder to demonize as an uncaring ideological extremist and corporate shill if the reader understands his deeply personal reasons for his positions.”
Mike Tipping, however, explains why the political left is filled with fear and loathing for LePage, saying he “provides a case study of what happens when politicians who are radically opposed even to some of the most basic functions of government come to power and what might happen nationally if their movement gains more influence or if a Tea Party candidate is elected president.”
As they say, “As goes Maine, so goes the nation.”