AUGUSTA — Just days into his second term, Republican Gov. Paul LePage sparked a debate about tax reform when he unveiled a $6.57 billion budget prominently featuring income tax cuts and sales tax increases.

Since then, LePage has been the chief public spokesman for his plan – as well as an even more ambitious long-term proposal to eliminate the income tax altogether – but Democrats and fellow Republicans haven’t backed his budget, including his plan to increase and broaden the sales tax to pay for income tax cuts.

On Wednesday, in an attempt at compromise, LePage’s office released a document he provided to Republican leaders listing several dozen areas in state government that could be trimmed or eliminated to pay for income tax cuts.

The list runs the gamut from small cuts, such as saving $4,000 by ending a training grant, to much grander and politically treacherous cuts, such as eliminating state funding for Head Start, eliminating General Assistance and the Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program. But in many ways, the list demonstrated the difficult trade-offs lawmakers would have to make to cut taxes.

The administration stressed in a press release that the governor “was not endorsing or rejecting any of the specific cuts.”

“The list was part of the process of finding a solution to provide income tax cuts for economic growth and to support hard working Mainers,” the release stated. “Again, this was just one part of the Governor’s efforts to help reach consensus.”


Here is a selection of items from the list and the estimated savings over the two-year budget:

Reduce staffing at state parks statewide: $329,000

Close the Downeast Correctional Facility: $10.1 million

Eliminate state General Assistance funding: $24.3 million.

Eliminate Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program: $22.7 million

Reduce landowner relations program in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry: $384,000

Eliminate two game wardens who patrol 30 towns and 500,000 acres: $310,000

Sell Burnt Island, a 5-acre island and lighthouse near Boothbay Harbor: price to be determined

Close the Maine State Aquarium: price to be determined

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