In a conversation with reporters yesterday about the budget, Gov. LePage said:
See, if you really look at my track record, I haven’t gotten much done in the Legislature. I get it done on the streets.
(You can see the remark in the video posted at the bottom of this page, starting at 1:25.)
The statement came after the governor said that after the Maine Legislature adjourned, he would seek an initiative to cut the top marginal rate of Maine’s income tax.
The Legislature is currently working on the budget and considering tax policy.
Three tax plans have been released.
Democrats have a plan that would focus income tax cuts on the middle class. Republican legislators have another, that in comparison to the Democratic plan, focuses income tax cuts at the top of the income distribution. While the Republican plan delivers more to upper income people than LePage, Gov. LePage’s plan includes regressive tax shifts.
In the midst of current legislative negotiations, income tax ideas are still being discussed across party lines. Yesterday Speaker of the House Mark Eves, a Democrat, said he continues to push for income tax cuts for the middle class, and has been talking with GOP House Leader Ken Fredette.
More broadly, LePage’s comments demonstrate what I wrote the other day about the governor’s separation from the usual ways governors, well, govern.
In discussing whether LePage is taking approaches that can make him a premature lame duck, I wrote:
[LePage] is increasingly taking himself out of normal governance, the give and take required in a checks-and-balances system.
As LePage admitted in his press conference and as news about legislative negotiations shows, his budget proposal is “dead.” And no power is more central to governing than decisions about taxing and spending. [source]
Even though he could be negotiating on taxes, it sounds like the governor is resigned to accomplishing little with this legislature,
By the way, it’s really unclear what the governor was referring to when he said, “I get it done on the streets.”
What exactly are the governor’s accomplishments thus far from his activities “on the streets”?
Perhaps this is simply a reference to a citizens’ initiative concerning the income tax, which hasn’t happened yet (and may not achieve the outcome LePage desires).
Or was he thinking about the impact he hopes his town meetings and the robocalls from the group Maine People Before Politics will have?
What do you think?