Commentary

Op/Ed: Angus King raised taxes, increased spending as governor

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By David Sorenson
Over the years, Angus King and his friends have built up a tall tale about King as a straightforward, calls-it-like-he-sees-it kind of guy; someone who has nothing to hide and will always be frank with Mainers.  One needs only to look at his history with taxes – both ours and his own – to see that this tall tale needs to be chopped down to size.

King Campaigned Against Higher Taxes in 1994

  • “My Position On Taxes Is Simple: We Don’t Need To Increase The Already Too-Heavy Burden On Maine People.” (Angus King, Independent For Governor: Making A Difference, 1994, p. 40)
  • “Raising Tax Rates To Generate More Revenue For The State Is A Classic Case Of Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face.” (Ibid., p. 41)
  • “‘I will veto any tax increase,’ said Brennan, the former two-term governor. ‘There will be no tax increase in a Brennan administration, none.’ King concurred, saying, ‘We can’t afford greater taxes, we simply can’t.'” (John Hale, “Gubernatorial Candidates Spar In TV Debate,” Bangor Daily News, 10/21/94)
  • “The Governor-Elect [King] Emphatically Insisted That A Tax Increase Is Not An Option For Dealing With The Budget Crisis.”(A. Jay Higgins, “King Firm On Resisting Tax Increase,” Bangor Daily News, 12/14/94)

He Even Pledged Specifically to Reduce the Overall Tax Burden in Maine: “‘I Am Absolutely Convinced That High Taxes Are Now The Biggest Drag On The Expansion Of The Maine Economy,’ Said King, arguing that New Hampshire’s low taxes helped its economy prosper. King said Maine is 10th in the nation in state and local taxes as a percentage of personal income, but ranked 36th in per capita income. . . . King Said He Was Setting A Realistic Goal Of Lowering Maine’s Overall Tax Burden By 20 Percent From 12.5 Percent Of Income To Less Than 11 Percent By 2001.” (John Hale, “King Declares War On Smoking,” Bangor Daily News, 1/29/97)

But Throughout His Governorship, King Repeatedly Raised Taxes on Mainers

  • Angus raised taxes on gasoline;
  • Angus raised taxes on cigarettes—twice;
  • Angus repealed the income tax cap;
  • Angus rolled back tax reimbursements for small businesses;
  • Angus proposed bringing back the “Sick Tax” on Maine hospitals in order to cover a budget deficit; and
  • He even fought the repeal of a 7% tax on nursing homes.

Near the End of his Term, King had Increased Spending by 45% and Made Maine’s Tax Burden the Highest in the Country:“According to a table published in Tuesday’s New York Times, Maine citizens lead the nation when it comes to the amount of their incomes spent on taxes.”  (Gregory Kesich, “Top Tax Burden Belongs To Maine,” Portland Press Herald, 7/26/01)  Despite his 1997 Goal of Reducing the Tax Burden from 12.5% to under 11% by 2001, Mainers Ended Up with a Whopping 14.5% of their Incomes Going to State & Local Taxes:  “The figures, based on 1998 census data, showed Mainers paid 14.5 percent of what they earned to the state and local government for income, sales and property taxes. New Yorkers came in second place at 14.2 percent.”  (Gregory Kesich, “Top Tax Burden Belongs To Maine,” Portland Press Herald, 7/26/01)

Although he Came into Office Vowing Not to Increase Taxes, He Left Office Encouraging the Next Governor to Do So: King has said he believes tax hikes will be needed to avoid unacceptably deep cuts in state spending.” (Paul Carrier, “Top Priority: $1 Billion Gap In New Budget,” Portland Press Herald, 12/22/02) 
And Now, Angus King is Trying to Pull a Fast One on Mainers Regarding Taxes Again… His Own Taxes!

Angus Stalled for a week after Democrat Cynthia Dill proposed that each candidate in Maine’s US Senate race disclose their tax information: “The campaign of independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King was still not saying Friday whether the wealthy businessman and former governor will release his tax returns.” -Portland Press Herald, 9/28/12.

And when he finally released them, he twisted the numbers like only Angus could, dividing his taxes paid by his net income, not gross or total income.  This lead Mainers to believe he paid about 50 percent more than he actually did:  “Bob Williams at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington said the best standard is total income. Barring that, the best measure of income on a tax return is the adjusted gross income used by Romney. ‘What King did is not right. What King did is overstate his taxes, potentially by a lot,’ Williams said.” -Associated Press, 10/2/12

 Maine Deserves Better

Angus King is not who Mainers think he is.  A typical politician, he will do and say anything it takes in order to get elected.  He told the people of Maine that he would not raise their taxes, and they elected him based on that promise.  Angus then took office and raised taxes again and again, leaving his Democratic successor to complain that there was no more revenue to be found.  Then, when trying to earn Mainers’ trust again this year, King deceived them regarding his own taxes by making it appear as if he paid a higher share of his income in taxes than he really did, in an attempt to avoid a perception of him as a loophole-finding rich guy who hides his money from the tax man.Maine needs real leadership in Washington, D.C.  Maine needs an honest leader who is one of us.

David Sorenson is the communications director for the Maine Republican Party.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson the editor of The Maine Wire. A native of Dexter, Maine, Robinson is a graduate of Bowdoin College.

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Discuss this story
Lise from Maine says:

Hi!
Most taxes that are mandated are unlawful, and taxes are theft.
No where in the Constitution of the State of Maine and the Constitution of the United States does it allow a tax on people’s successes (progressive income tax, for example) in order to give it to someone else.
Thank you!
Lise from Maine

Pem Schaeffer says:

I’m not big on recalling the details of history, but yesterday someone suggested Angus also played a role in the DHHS computer debacle that cost Maine taxpayers untold millions over the years.

Has this been looked at?