Potatohead Paul LePage did indeed remember to pack her husband’s “Angry Eyes” for his scheduled news conference on Monday.)
Hate to say it, but finally Paul LePage and I agree on something- yesterday was an absolute disaster for the LePage campaign.
And now it seems the nation (or at least MSNBC) is paying attention to what’s going on up here in Maine:
GOP/ Tea Party gubernatorial non-candidate Paul LePage had a rather interesting day of his own making yesterday, as he attempted to roll out his economic plan and instead went from buffaloes and blackflies to bullshite.
Check out Chuck Todd’s report on MSNBC this morning:
Let’s back up. Last week, it was reported that Ann Marie LePage, Paul’s
estranged second wife, had some serious tax issues:
Ann LePage, the wife of the Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage of Waterville, received permanent resident tax exemptions in 2009 on homes in both Maine and Florida, a violation of statutes in each state.
The LePage campaign admitted the violation on Thursday, calling it a paperwork error. A spokesman said Ann LePage had been unaware of the discrepancy and would remedy it. Per Florida law, she could be fined and levied back property taxes if deemed in violation.
To receive the tax exemption in Maine or Florida — both of which call it the homestead exemption — property owners must declare that state is their primary residence.
Ann LePage is the sole owner of homes in Waterville and Ormond Beach, Fla., according to records in those states. She received Maine’s homestead exemption on the house at 438 Main St. in Waterville in 1998, after buying the property with Paul LePage in 1995.
The property was transferred to Ann LePage alone in 1996. She then purchased the Florida property in 2008 and claimed the Florida homestead exemption on her 2009 property taxes.
Then yesterday, Paul LePage exploded at local media, who wanted to hear from the candidate himself on the issue. From Dirigo Blue:
A.J. Higgins: “Why did you take you name off your real estate in Waterville?”
Paul LePage: “I never had it on, never had it on, ever.”
But that’s not what records at the Kennebec County registry of deeds show. And later in the day, a spokesman for the LePage campaign called MPBN to rescind LePage’s statement and apologize.
Brent Littlefield also confirmed that, in fact, the candidate’s name was on the Waterville deed at one time.
More about LeRage’s meltdown via DailyKos.
Last Friday, the Kennebec Journal had this repor that the wife of Republican candidate for governor, Paul LePage, had claimed the homestead exemption in two states. Simply put, she was claiming a tax break offered by states to qualified resident homeowners, in this case, Maine, where her husband is running for governor, and Florida, where her ailing mother lives.
Applying for the homestead exemption in Maine is easy – you simply fill out a form and sign it. Florida, however, makes it more difficult: amongst other things, one must submit a notarized Declaration of Domicile and have a Florida drivers license or vehicle tags. Ann LePage had done both of these things.
Here’s where the story gets interesting.
Soon after Paul unexpectedly won the GOP nomination on 8 June, Ann transferred her driver’s license back to Maine. There was much speculation as to exactly why she would claim residency in Florida knowing that her husband was going to run for governor, and that the homestead exemption would only amount to around $500 in savings – hardly worth it.
But it turns out that the couple has one child currently at Florida State University, and another that recently graduated. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at the school is huge – many thousands of dollars.
There will be much more about this in the days to come. Because as the DKos diary suggests, this is not simply a story of being evasive about homestead filings, property taxes, and residency; the LePages also have children who filed as in-state residents of Florida at Florida State University to obtain a much better price on their college tuitions. (pdf warning)
We’re talking over $200k worth of savings to the LePages in tuition fees.
Below the fold, the full original clips which show Paul LePage getting extremely angry with the questions of MPBN reporter AJ Higgins and one of his staff trying unsuccessfully to handle his candidate, as well as stuff him towards the exit in Augusta, and the earlier clip in Bangor of LePage dropping the “bullshite bomb” on MPBN’s Josie Huang.LePage Swears at MPBN Reporter
From Downeast’s Mike Tipping:
Today’s statewide tour by Paul LePage was supposed to launch his economic agenda. Instead it launched some serious questions about his temper and his candidacy.
In Augusta, LePage actually stormed out of his own press conference after being questioned about not paying property taxes by MPBN reporter A.J. Higgins. WMTW has the unbelievable footage.
In Portland, fellow public radio reporter Josie Huang elicited another outburst from LePage. A friend of mine happened to be there with a Flip camera and captured this clip from the event. Instead it launched some serious questions about his temper and his candidacy.