AUGUSTA – It’s been nearly six months since voters approved the so-called “Education Tax” on Maine’s upper-income households.
That issue remained one of the most divisive in the State House Monday.
The issue hasn’t just created a divide between legislators, it’s also causing Governor Paul LePage to lash out at members of his own political party. During a Monday morning news conference, the governor was asked whether he expected all republican legislators to support repeal of the tax surcharge.
Governor LePage said “I think every year, they’re scared by the democrats. Every year, when push comes to shove they cave. Show me that you can’t cave.”
As he has in the past, the governor maintains voters really didn’t know enough about the issue. He said the question on the ballot only touched surface of the issue. He stated there’s only one reason the question was approved in November. He stated “Because people did not know what they were voting for.”
Governor LePage said at town meetings across the state overwhelming numbers of people have told him the surcharge needs to be repealed.
Democrats said they are hearing otherwise. “I guess it’s the circle you run in. If you only run in circle of high-income earners, you know, wealthy people. Then i you probably are going to hear get rid of this.” said Senate Minority Leader, Tory Jackson, D-Allagash.
The governor said he’s constantly being told the tax surcharge is causing professionals to move out of state. He added it’s unlikely the democrats will discuss any type of middle ground on the issue. He aid “There isn’t a tax they won’t increase.”
During the news conference the governor again called on republicans to grab their bayonets to join the battle.
“You know, the governor talks about fixing bayonets. But the difference is you’ll be fixing bayonets against working class people who are getting taxed out of their homes.” stated Jackson.
The governor said he’ll definitely veto any budget that comes to his desk with the three percent surcharge included.
Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson said there’s no question that veto would be overridden by both houses of the legislature.