Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) this week called for a tax cut for the wealthy, citing a false claim that the number of millionaires had dropped by 80 percent in the state in the last 25 years.
In audio obtained by the Bangor Daily News' Mike Tipping, LePage explained to the Greater Portland chapter of the Informed Women’s Network in Falmouth why he had pushed for income and estate tax breaks, while backing cuts to education, health care and public assistance programs.
"Twenty-five years ago Maine had about 2,000 millionaires," the governor said. "Maine has 400 now. New Hampshire at the time had about 500, right now they have 4,000. That's the difference."
"That’s when you talk about prosperity and you talk about building an economy those are the things that you need to concern yourself with," he added. "So, I am looking at taxation as a big issue."
Tipping pointed out that even though IRS records only go back to 1997, it was clear that LePage's numbers were "ludicrously wrong."
According to LePage, the number of millionaires decreased by 80 percent in Maine during the last 25 years, while growing by 700 percent in New Hampshire. In fact, IRS data shows that the number of millionaires in Maine had grown by 83 percent since 1997. During the same period in New Hampshire, the number of millionaires increased by 64 percent.
"It’s one thing to fudge numbers to make your point, it is a whole different league when you use deception to justify tax policies that benefit millionaires while cuts are made to health care, seniors and education for our children," state Taxation Committee member Rep. Adam Goode (D) told Tipping.