Paul LePage and his wife still get tax relief in Florida

Former Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, Ann LePage, still receive property tax relief for Florida permanent residents, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The LePages are expected to save $8,500 in total taxes under the arrangement by granting exemptions from 2009 to 2015 and from 2018 to this year. Ann LePage began cutting the tax break in June, saying she and her husband no longer live in Florida.

Although the tax issue does not appear to violate state laws or endanger Paul LePage’s Maine residency, it is emerging in the home stretch of the Republican campaign against Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. He registered to vote in Florida on his inauguration day before returning in mid-2020 to declare residency in Maine while planning his political comeback.

The couple have shuttled between Maine and Florida since before LePage was elected in 2010. During that campaign, another Florida home became an issue for him. Ann LePage was listed as a home buyer in Ormond Beach in 2008, when her husband was mayor of Waterville.

In 2010, Ann LePage was initially cited in Florida after claiming a property exemption on homes there and in Waterville. Her campaign described it as an inadvertent mistake that would be corrected, but she was eventually cleared by officials there because her sick mother lived in the house, meaning the property was eligible for tax relief. .

The LePages sold their Waterville home when they moved to the Blaine House, retaining the Florida homestead exemption until 2015. the year Ann LePage’s mother died. The couple haven’t owned a home in Maine since 2018. They rent one now in Edgecomb.

Ann LePage sold Florida’s first home in December 2017 and bought another at around 20 minutes in March 2018 as the governor completed his second term. He said in November he would move to Florida and become a resident, citing his lack of income tax.

At that time, they had claimed a homestead exemption on that house, indicating that it was at least Ann LePage’s permanent residence at a time when her husband was still governor of Maine. A Florida tax attorney told The New York Times that was possible under state law but “atypical” since spouses typically live together in homes.

The former governor took up residence in Maine before his wife. He voted in the Maine elections in 2020 and 2022. Ann LePage voted here in 2018 but did not vote again until the June 2022 primary, according to voter data. She regained her residence in Maine this year, LePage strategist Brent Littlefield told the Portland Press Herald.

Littlefield said the report was “obviously a dumping ground for opposition research from political opponents.” He did not respond to questions from the Bangor Daily News about where the LePages have filed their income taxes since 2020. In a statement, Drew Gattine, the chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, called the tax exemption of “slap” for Mainers.

The former governor’s residency status had not been a major campaign issue as Maine’s constitutional requirement is quite loose. A governor need only be a resident of Maine at the time of election and have resided here for a cumulative total of five years.

The page continued his crusade to eliminate Maine’s income tax during this campaign, often citing a desire to attract Florida “snowbirds” for most of the year.

His final budget proposal in 2017 contained a tax overhaul that would have combined income tax cuts and sales tax expansion while limiting Maine’s homestead exemption to people over 65, although that the package was never seriously considered in a divided legislature.

Comments are closed.