AUGUSTA — Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed 10 bills Monday simply because they were sponsored by Democrats, following through on his vow to use his veto pen to punish Democrats for blocking his campaign to eliminate the income tax.

The veto letters arrived just hours after the Democratic-controlled House voted 82-64, largely along party lines, to reject a bill that would have allowed voters to decide whether to eliminate the income tax by way of a constitutional amendment. It is the latest indication of LePage’s willingness to play political hardball with lawmakers as he pursues his agenda.

The governor was matter-of-fact about his reasons for vetoing the bills.

“As promised, I am vetoing all bills sponsored by Democrats because they have stifled the voice of Maine citizens by preventing them from voting on the elimination of the income tax,” LePage wrote in each of the letters. “These legislators were elected to serve the people of Maine, but they choose to operate behind closed doors to advance their own partisan agendas. Rather than work with me to at least give the Maine people a chance to vote on lowering or eliminating the income tax, they closed the door.”

Democratic leaders said the governor’s actions are wasting taxpayer money and lawmakers’ time on important, oftentimes non-controversial policy issues. Several of the bills that LePage vetoed Monday received unanimous support in both chambers. He also vetoed two Republican-sponsored bills but outlined his policy reasons for rejecting them.

“It is clear the governor is being vindictive to Democrats as well as to Republicans that work together with us on issues,” said House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan.


“We expected more from our governor than this,” added Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, the assistant House majority leader.

The bills range from a measure protecting the confidentiality of applicants for disability variances requested from municipal boards of appeal to a Maine Turnpike Authority bill that aims to help the authority crack down largely on repeat toll violators from Canada.

Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s spokeswoman, defended the vetoes and the reason behind them while pointing out that lawmakers can override the governor by garnering two-thirds votes from lawmakers in both chambers.

“He understands he is going to be overridden,” Bennett said. “But he is making a point. And as long as Democrats refuse to give a voice to Maine people, he will continue to make that point.”

While supporters of the constitutional amendment argued that eliminating the income tax will help Maine economically, opponents criticized the governor for not explaining how the state would recoup the estimated $1.7 billion in revenues – roughly one-half of the current annual state budget – that would be lost every year.


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