Gov. LePage admits he doesn’t know the minimum wage

Gov. LePage admits he doesn’t know the minimum wage

Even as he has ramped-up his opposition to a referendum on the November ballot to raise Maine’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, Governor Paul LePage has continued to get Maine’s current minimum wage completely wrong.

In December, while speaking at the University of Southern Maine, LePage claimed that the state wage is $7.65 an hour (it’s $7.50), and then asked the audience what they thought the federal minimum wage was. When someone (correctly) shouted the figure of $7.25, Governor LePage stepped in to (incorrectly) correct them saying that “it’s still in the five-dollar range. It has never been changed.”

Since then, LePage has incorrectly cited the $7.65 figure multiple times, and at a town hall last week outright admitted that he didn’t know what the real wage was.

“Whatever the rate is, I’m not even sure because quite frankly I don’t know of anybody that, personally, is working the minimum wage,” said LePage.

LePage’s wrong numbers on the wage itself are part of a long series of lies he has peddled on the issue, from claiming that he received “constant emails” from seniors arguing against an increase (he received one) to falsely claiming Portland’s minimum wage increase was illegal, to misrepresenting the income of restaurant workers, to claiming that minimum wage increases result in significant price increases (they don’t).

The Maine Democratic Party was quick to call out LePage for his latest lie.

“This governor is astonishingly out-of-touch with the 1.3 million people he was elected to serve,” said Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett. “I challenge Gov. LePage to introduce himself to the next person who prepares his food, or rings up his purchase, or mops a floor he walks on. He may be surprised to learn just how quickly he can meet someone who is earning the minimum wage.”

According to Mainers for Fair Wages, raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 would affect more than one in four Maine workers.

Photo via Andi Parkinson.

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