Former Gov. Paul LePage said Monday that neither he nor his wife did anything wrong in benefitting from a property tax exemption in Florida while he was living in Maine and campaigning for office.

Former Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a campaign press conference at Buker Community Center on Monday, September 19, 2022. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

LePage said his wife, Ann, remained a full-time Florida resident when he moved back to Maine in 2020 to campaign for a third non-consecutive term as governor.

“I have been in Maine for two years,” LePage said in a telephone interview. “My wife came up this year. We have been living apart because I wanted to make sure that I was in Maine and people didn’t say, ‘Oh, he’s a carpetbagger.’ In 2019, I was in Florida. At the end of 2019, I moved back to Maine.”

As LePage defended himself, Maine Democrats held a news conference in Augusta to call out the former governor for what they called a slap in the face to Maine taxpayers. They pointed out that LePage in 2017 tried to cut the homestead exemption for Maine residents under 65.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the former Maine governor and current Republican gubernatorial nominee claimed property tax exemptions reserved for permanent residents of Florida while living in Maine. The LePages, the newspaper reported, took advantage of the so-called homestead exemptions on their Ormond Beach, Florida, properties from 2009 to 2015 and again from 2018 through the end of this year, an arrangement the paper said saved them over $8,500.

The Press Herald reported on Sunday that Flagler County property tax records show the 3,865-square-foot Ormond Beach home is owned only by Ann LePage. A different Ormond Beach home the couple had between 2008 and 2017 was also owned only by Ann LePage.


The ownership and the fact they lived apart allowed LePage to claim a rented home in Edgecomb as his permanent residence while his wife was a Florida resident and claiming the homestead exemption there.

LePage disputed some details in the New York Times story about the timing of the tax exemptions.

The Times reported that tax records indicated the couple claimed the exemption in Florida while he was still governor in Maine. LePage said Monday that Ann LePage did not apply for the most recent homestead exemption until he was leaving office at the end of 2018.

“My wife went in on Dec. 27 and filed for the homestead exemption and I flew down on Jan. 3. The day that Janet (Mills) got inaugurated was the day I flew down,” he said. “Then I became a resident a few days later. We did not get an advantage of the homestead exemption between March and December (of 2018).”

He also said he believes the tax break is no longer in place.

“My wife came up here in March of this year. The tax exemption was taken off,” he said. “My wife was living there until March or May of this year. We’ve been living apart. I go down for Christmas. She comes up for holidays. I’ve been living in Maine for two years.”


The appraiser’s office in Flagler County, Fla., told the Times that Ann LePage notified officials in June that she was no longer a full-time resident but that the tax break will stay in effect through the end of this year, the paper reported. It wasn’t clear why the tax break stays in effect after a homeowner ceases to be a full-time resident.

“The article is so wrong,” LePage said. “But it is what it is. And I’ll just have to deal with it. If it costs me the election, it costs me the election. ”

Maine Democratic Party officials responded to the report in a news conference Monday afternoon.

Party Vice Chair Bev Uhlenhake emphasized that LePage is still benefitting from a property tax break that’s “only available to residents of Florida.”

Not only did LePage seek to eliminate Maine’s homestead tax exemption for people age 65 and under, Uhlenhake said, his policies, including reducing state revenue sharing and shifting more public education costs onto towns, caused property taxes in many towns to increase.

“These revelations are absolutely a slap in the face to all Mainers,” Uhlenhake said. “They show just how little respect Paul LePage has for Maine and for all of you. It’s clear that LePage believes there is one set of rules for Maine people and a completely (other) set of rules for himself.”

She added, “the hypocrisy is absolutely appalling.”

The Democratic Governors Association also hammered LePage about the report Monday, describing in a news release his plan to eliminate income taxes in Maine as an effort to prevent “wealthy residents from moving to Florida for part of the year to take advantage of tax breaks.”

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