Saying he’s “on a campaign now, until I leave office,” Maine Governor Paul LePage declared in a press conference on Monday that he’ll be holding events across the state to push for the undoing of the tax surcharge on yearly income over $200,000 that voters approved in November to increase funding for local schools.
LePage said he has a dozen engagements planned over the next month, including town halls and speeches to Rotary and Kiwanis clubs.
During the press conference, LePage made several false claims about the effects of tax policy on high income earners, including asserting that the number of millionaires in income-tax-free New Hampshire has increased over the past 25 years, while in Maine it has declined (in fact, IRS data shows the number of high-income earners increased in Maine over that period, and at a faster rate than in New Hampshire), and that there has been out-migration of wealthy Mainers to the Granite State (in fact, migration has gone the other way, with more and wealthier former New Hampshire residents moving to Maine).
“The large majority of peer reviewed research finds that state tax migration is statistically and economically insignificant,” Maine Center for Economic Policy analyst Sarah Austin reported in testimony before the legislature last month. She urged legislators to “respect the will of Maine voters, protect Maine ’s ability to invest in our future by fulfilling our commitment to public education, and stop the trend of tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of families and communities.”
In addition to the tax cut for the wealthy, LePage’s budget raises taxes on Mainers making less than $92,000. Even with the 3% surcharge on income above $200,000, Maine’s wealthiest top one percent still currently pay less of an effective tax rate than the middle class.
Gov. LePage official photo.