Maine Governor LePage Budget Favors Wealthy

Governor Paul LePage promised to defend “the traditional Maine values that have created strong communities and strong families across the state.” He also pledged to enact “new ideas to get Maine working.”

Well unless the traditional values of Maine are to take from the middle class and poor to give to the wealthiest residents- I think LePage has epically failed. In his budget that was released February 28, the governor has unveiled a slew of tax cuts, cutbacks in public services, and the gutting of public employee benefits and pensions.

Included in the budget is a provision that would raise the retirement age of public workers from 62 to 65, cut Maine’s prescription drug and health coverage for working parents program, end $400 of property tax relief for more than 75,000 middle-income Maine households, and freeze cost of living adjustments for state employee retirees — which already provides a meager average pension of only $18,500 per year.

At the same time, LePage is pushing through hundreds of millions of dollars of tax cuts. While most Mainers will receive a tax cut under the governor’s plan, the majority of the cuts will go to the wealthiest residents.

The Maine Center for Economic Policy, a liberal think tank, said the cuts give the rich much better benefits than the poor. “Where’s the sacrifice that’s being asked of Maine’s wealthiest residents?” said Garrett Martin, associate director of the center.

The think-tank estimates that the average income tax break for families that earn between $28,139 and $48,050 would be $83 in 2013. That jumps to $874 for those who make more than $199,783 and to $2,770 for those who earn more than $363,438, according to the center.

Now, in this time of “sacrifice”, LePage opted not to contribute more to his pension. According to statue, the governor contributes 7.65 percent of his salary to the Governor’s Retirement Fund. After he leaves office his pension will pay him three-eighths of his annual salary, about $26,000 per year.

The governor is also immediately vested in the system. By contrast, the average public employee or teacher would have to work more than 20 years to receive the same pension. Governor LePage has also decided to exempt the legislative and judicial branches of Maine’s government from these “sacrifices”. Does it make you sick to your stomach? Me too.

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Wow, he will be paid $26,000 per year for the rest of his life? Does he need to work a minimum number of years before he is gets this, or will one term suffice?

I wonder how Scott Walker feels about this? =D

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