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Governor’s Address: Higher taxes drive away successful people – but don’t take it from me

Liberals and the media are constantly defending the need for higher taxes. They criticize me when I tell Mainers that high taxes harm the economy. Well, don’t take it from me. Check for yourself.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

I have been traveling all over the state, educating Mainers about the destructive effect that high taxes have on our economy. With over 45 years of experience as a businessman, I can tell you firsthand that taxes drive out companies and successful people.

Liberals believe high taxes are needed to fund their pie-in-the-sky ideology that government should be all things to all people. But high taxes are a very real issue for the people who have to pay them.

When taxes get too high, these people will find someplace else to call home—even if it’s just 6 months and a day.

Look at a comparison between states with high income taxes and those with no income tax. Between 2000 and 2015, the nine states with no income tax gained a total of $146 billion in adjusted gross income.

These states are Alaska, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington and our next door neighbor, New Hampshire.

During that same time, the nine states with the highest income tax lost a total of $107 billion. Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Iowa, Oregon and California and Maine are on the list.

If our tax structure had been more competitive, Maine could have retained much more wealth. But with the new 10.15% income tax that was pushed by liberals and union bosses, Maine is no longer competitive. Even Massachusetts has a lower income tax rate.

Maine is the new Taxachusetts. It is driving away successful people and the companies that provide good-paying jobs. Companies will not look at moving to Maine when they see billions of dollars in investment leaving every year.

Ford Reiche, who was named the SBA’s 2008 Small Business Person of the Year for Maine, told the legislature that his accountant advised him to change his residence to Florida before he sold his company. Since he loves Maine, he chose to stay and pay $1.4 million in income tax.

After the liberals and the union bosses succeeded in their referendum to raise the income tax to 10.15%, Reiche said he might not make the same decision. He called the referendum an “in-your-face persecution of people who are highly productive.” Reiche said he has friends in the Portland area who have already changed their residence.

Liberals fail to understand that the higher they tax people, the fewer people they will have left to tax.

Our state is beautiful and offers a superb quality of life. We all love to live here, and we all want to raise our families here. But if liberals continue to persecute the people who pay the bills, we may all have to move to other states to enjoy the way life is supposed to be.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage

Governor

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