Paul LePage Calls on Maine’s Democrat Governor to Cut Gas Tax: ‘We Need Relief’

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2015 file photo, Gov. Paul LePage delivers his State of the State address to the Legislature at the Statehouse in Augusta, Maine. Even Maine lawmakers accustomed to LePage's aggressive style of politics said Thursday, June 25, 2015, they were troubled by accusations that the …
AP Photo/Joel Page, File

Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Tuesday called for the Mills administration and state legislature to cut Maine’s fuel tax in response to gasoline prices reaching record highs across the nation.

LePage, who is challenging Gov. Janet Mills (D) in the state’s gubernatorial race this year, spoke about the tax at a press conference in the town of Falmouth on the same day Mills formally announced her bid for reelection.

“High gas prices are hurting Maine families, our Senior Citizens on fixed incomes, and our small businesses. With the cost of food in Maine 13% higher than the rest of the nation, high gas prices also impact the price we pay for groceries,” LePage wrote in a social media post after the press conference.

The former governor asked Mills and state lawmakers to “provide immediate relief to Mainers at gas pumps by temporarily lowering the Maine Motor Fuel ‘Gas Tax’ by 50% for the next 90 days, before the full tourist season,” adding that he also believes lowering tolls by 50 percent for the next 90 days is in order.

Maine currently collects in taxes about 30 cents per gallon of gasoline. Meanwhile, gasoline prices, which were already skyrocketing under President Joe Biden prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have reached record-breaking levels, hitting a national average of $4.252 per gallon as of Wednesday, according to an AAA analysis.

Maine’s gasoline prices are currently hovering just above the national average, at $4.257 per gallon, according to the same analysis.

LePage, who served as governor from 2011 to 2019 before being term-limited out of office, noted that under his administration, the state’s gasoline tax indexing was repealed effective January 1, 2012, meaning the tax rate on drivers would no longer be adjusted upward in response to inflation.

LePage charged that “Mills, on the other hand, opened the door to increases gas taxes to fund electric vehicle charging stations. This leads to questions on why Mills is catering to the elite, who can afford an electric vehicle, over the great majority of Mainers who are struggling to fill their gas tanks.”

A Mills spokesperson told the Press Herald, however, that “the Mills administration does not support an increase in the gas tax,” and her campaign said Mills’ proposed one-time $750 relief checks were what the governor viewed as the answer to Mainers experiencing rising costs in their daily lives.

Mills, meanwhile, shared a video announcement on Tuesday about her reelection bid, saying, “We’ve accomplished so much, but I’m running for reelection because there’s so much left to do. It’s time to invest in you, the people of Maine. … You deserve every ounce of hard-won progress we’ve achieved, and you’ve earned all the progress yet to come.”

The Maine Republican Party chair, Demi Kouzounas, responded to Mills’ announcement by listing several grievances the party has with the Democrat governor, including that Mills “locked down schools and businesses from her imperial perch,” supported “increasing Mainers’ costs during this time of record-high inflation,” and enforced polices that “led to less access to health care in our rural and urban areas.”

LePage, if elected, would “help our economy grow and flourish rather than punishing small businesses,” Kouzounas said. “He’ll work with parents to empower children rather than marching to the tune of the teacher union bosses. And he’ll give Mainers hope that they don’t have to worry about Mills’ heavy-handed, bumbling government intruding on their daily lives.”

Write to Ashley Oliver at Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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