LePage proclaims he hasn’t gotten much done in the Maine Legislature

Gov. Paul LePage speaks at his May 29 news conference in the Blaine House. Mario Moretto | BDN

Gov. Paul LePage speaks at his May 29 news conference in the Blaine House. Mario Moretto | BDN

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.

You can click here to see a graph (constructed by the Maine Center for Economic Policy) that shows how the three tax plans would affect people at different income levels.

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.

You can click here to see a clip of Speaker Eves talking about income tax cuts and budget negotiations.

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?

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.