Ann LePage, the wife of the Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage of Waterville, received permanent resident tax exemptions in 2009 on homes in both Maine and Florida, a violation of statutes in each state.
The LePage campaign admitted the violation on Thursday, calling it a paperwork error. A spokesman said Ann LePage had been unaware of the discrepancy and would remedy it. Per Florida law, she could be fined and levied back property taxes if deemed in violation.
To receive the tax exemption in Maine or Florida -- both of which call it the homestead exemption -- property owners must declare that state is their primary residence.And to get that residence status in Florida, she had to change her driver's license, and she then changed it back to a Maine license. I wonder how that can be a paperwork error. I've made paperwork errors during my life; I'm sure most people do. But it must be difficult to accidentally change your driver's license, declare a tax break and then change your license back. Call me suspicious, but that sounds more like cheating to me. And, apparently, Maine reporters are also suspicious, because they are asking Mr. LePage a whole lot of questions. Questions that he doesn't want to answer.
LePages's little outbursts have given the voters of Maine a bit of controversy. Nothing by Giuliani standards, of course, but exciting for a sleepy state such as Maine. It will be interesting to see how this will all play out. According to fivethirtyeight blogger Nate Silver, LePage leads his Dem rival, Libby Mitchell, 47% to 40%, with 11% split by three third party candidates. Pundits are unsure whether his temper will hurt or help him, but I suspect that the tax problem might. Mainers expect a bit of honor from their politicians. I wonder (well, hope) that this might be another case of the teabaggers choosing a bad candidate.
Maybe he should just say that he's not as bad as Tim Geithner. That might work.