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Governor’s Address: Bad tax policy forces Maine families to flee to other states

As your Governor, I want all Mainers to prosper. Providing opportunities for people to help themselves is the best pathway to success.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

Unfortunately, liberals believe a bigger government, higher taxes and more spending is going to help Mainers prosper. For decades, they spent millions of taxpayer dollars on welfare programs with no accountability. They increased the tax burden on families and businesses, driving them out of state.

Now Maine has the second-highest income tax in the United States. Some folks have told me they can no longer afford to live here. In a time when we need to attract people into our state, we are driving them away with bad tax policies.

I received a letter from a 67-year-old man in Westbrook. His name is Robert. In 1973 he and his wife Marti moved to Maine. They both started with low-paying jobs, but they worked very hard to become successful. They raised a family with two children and put them through college—one at Bates, the other at University of California-Berkeley.

Now, after 44 years in our great state, Robert and his wife are being forced to leave because of high taxes. They must decide whether to stay here or buy a home in Florida or Texas, both of which have no income tax.

Living in either one of those states for six months and a day would save them thousands of dollars a year because they would pay no income tax. Even if they kept their home in Maine, the other home would essentially be free. Eliminating their Maine income tax is enough to pay the ownership costs for their home down south.

Robert and Marti are not alone. They are just two of many Mainers like them who feel they have no other choice but to leave. These are real people who want to stay in Maine, but they are being forced out by high taxes.

Robert said he is grateful the only thing standing between the Legislature and his bank account is me. I appreciate it, but he has it backwards. The State of Maine should be very grateful to have good, successful people like Robert and Marti.

Our tax policies should encourage them to stay here, invest here and create jobs here. We must show successful people we want them to stay. My budget tells them we are cutting taxes, we welcome professionals and small businesses, and we want people to keep more of what they have earned.

Whatever decision Robert and his family make will largely be influenced by the upcoming budget. Legislators have a choice: they can lower taxes to help Mainers prosper. Or they can enact the second-highest income tax in the nation and chase other good people away.

I encourage folks like Robert to share their story with legislators before it’s too late.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage

Governor

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