Maine GOP candidate is cashing in on tax breaks designed for permanent Florida residents: report

Maine GOP candidate is cashing in on tax breaks designed for permanent Florida residents: report
Image via Gage Skidmore

According to a report from the New York Times, controversial former Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) -- who is making another bid for his old job -- has been availing himself to tax breaks in the state of Florida where he and his wife own property.

However, those breaks were designed to only benefit full-time residents.

As the Times' Alyce McFadden and Michael Bender reported, LePage has long pushed the state legislature to make changes to keep wealthy residents in the state instead of moving to sunnier climes. According to the Times report, LePage himself has been investing in property in Florida -- and abusing the law while doing so.

"Mr. LePage and his wife, Ann LePage, who have owned property in Florida for over a decade, have themselves benefited from that state’s tax laws while living in the Maine governor’s mansion, and again as he campaigns to return to the job. From 2009 to 2015, and also from 2018 through the end of this year, the couple received property tax breaks reserved for permanent Florida residents, public records show," the report states.

The report goes on to state that the LePages bought two homes in Florida, one of which they have already sold, and took advantage of a homestead exemption for permanent residents while making their home in Maine.

Noting that savings appear to be approximately a little over $8,500, the Times report adds that this is nothing new as the LePages have played fast and loose with tax laws previously.

"This is not the first time the LePages have faced scrutiny over such a tax matter — in 2010, Florida officials fined Mrs. LePage $1,400 before rescinding the penalty — and Mr. LePage’s focus on taxes in the current campaign for governor could open him up to attacks from Democrats," the Times is reporting. "Mr. LePage’s campaign defended the tax moves, saying that Mrs. LePage’s mother had used the Florida home as her primary residence from 2009 until her death in 2015, when the couple removed the first homestead exemption."

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