May 15, 2013

LePage: I don't support higher tobacco taxes

The governor issues a statement after his office receives angry phone calls from people who read 'outdated stickers' from the Baldacci era.

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage wants everyone to know that he is not in favor of raising taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products.

LePage issued a statement Wednesday night after his office said he was swamped with phone calls from people angry about an “outdated sticker” that urged opponents of such a tax to contact the governor’s office.

Many of the callers belong to a coalition opposed to legislation – sponsored by Democrats – that seeks to raise taxes on cigarettes, cigars and tobacco, according to the governor.

LePage said the coalition used outdated stickers that had been printed years ago. Those stickers were intended to target former Democratic Governor John Baldacci, who favored a tax increase on tobacco products.

In its rush to oppose the legislation, the coalition distributed the outdated stickers, which resulted “in angry calls to the Governor’s Office,” LePage said in a statement.

The coalition has since distributed new stickers that urge opponents of the tax to contact their state senators or state representatives.

"My office had received many phone calls from people who received inaccurate information from outdated stickers placed on cigarette or tobacco packaging,” LePage said. “My position is clear. I do not support new taxes on tobacco products nor have I ever.”

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