Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who has made fiscal policy the centerpiece of his campaign for his return to power this year, distanced himself Friday from the controversial boards of the Republican platform of the State on Social Issues. rally in Lewiston, LePage rejected the idea of ​​repealing the state law recognizing same-sex marriage, which Maine voters approved in a 2012 referendum. I’m not going. “The platform adopted at the convention in April opposed same-sex marriage, sex education before senior year of high school, and abortion. The platform said Republicans “recognize the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” go against the sanctity of human life.” income women, as has been the case since 2019, when Democratic Governor Janet Mills succeeded LePage in office. LePage said: “I wouldn’t touch it. I’m not saying it won’t be brought to my desk, I’m saying it’s not something I would initiate. he would start the process,” LePage said. , “First year, seniors, no more income tax on pensions.” He said he might want to cut the top tax rate, as he did in his first term there. is ten years old, and increasing the exemption for low-income people from paying any taxes for the 2022-2023 fiscal years approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Mills totals $8.7 billion, according to the Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review That’s $1.5 billion more than the $7.2 billion allocated during LePage’s last two years in office, fiscal years 2018-19, according to the Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review. “The state is not an $8 billion state. It just isn’t,” LePage told WMTW. One way he would seek to cut the budget is to cut the government payroll by hundreds of positions. LePage said, “State employees – we in have way too many. We are not an employment agency. What we should do is have effective working rules. % when in office. He said this decline had occurred “over the past three years,” but according to the Maine Department of Labor, the civilian labor force participation rate was 59% in May 2022, was 62.8% when Mills took office in January 2019, and peaked during the LePage years at 65.1% in July 2013. LePage criticized Mills for reimbursing 60% of the projected earnings surplus of 1.2 billion this year, or $722 million, by sending 850 dollar checks to 850,000, or 92%, of the state’s taxpayers. , a move backed by bipartisan support in the Legislative Assembly. Refund checks are now arriving in mailboxes. dealership in Maine, ‘You charge $2, $2.50, and we’ll make up the difference f from that fund “so people can afford to heat their homes.” However, no Maine governor can take such action unilaterally; gasoline tax changes are subject to legislative approval, and tolls are overseen by the Maine Turnpike Authority’s Board of Directors. , the main source of highway maintenance, would save the average driver, someone who drives 15,000 miles a year with a 25 MPG vehicle, $22 a year, said Mills spokeswoman Lindsay Crete. featuring familiar faces like LePage and Mills at the top of the ballot. Former Congressman Bruce Poliquin will take on Congressman Jared Golden on the battleground in Maine’s 2nd congressional district. After winning the primary by 20%, Poliquin was publicly endorsed by his main opponent, Liz Caruso. Former Navy SEAL Ed Thelander challenges Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in the 1st Congressional District. “The only way to win in November is for everyone to work together and work as hard as they can,” Maine Republican Party Chairman Demo Kouzounas told the rally. “We have to run scared,” he said. she said, “as if we were 10 points behind.

Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who has made fiscal policy the centerpiece of his campaign for his return to power this year, distanced himself on Friday from the controversial boards of the Republican Party platform. on social issues.

Responding to questions from WMTW following a party ‘unity’ rally in Lewiston, LePage rejected the idea of ​​repealing the state’s law recognizing same-sex marriage, which Maine voters approved. in a referendum in 2012.

LePage said, “Marriage equality – I’m not interested in talking about it. If it’s in the platform, I’m not going.”

The platform adopted at the convention in April opposed same-sex marriage, sex education before the senior year of high school, and abortion.

The platform said Republicans “recognize the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

The platform also said Republicans “believe in the sanctity of human life – from conception to natural death” and “support a ban on the use of public funds for abortions or activities contrary to sanctity.” of human life”.

On Friday, LePage called for state funding to support women who carry babies to term for adoption, but did not oppose the state’s version of government-funded Medicaid health insurance, MaineCare, paying for abortions for low-income women, as it has since 2019, when Democratic Governor Janet Mills took over from LePage in office.

LePage said, “I wouldn’t touch this. I’m not saying it won’t be brought to my desk, I’m saying it’s not something I would initiate.”

LePage would initiate tax and spending cuts. The centerpiece of his campaign is the phasing out of state income tax.

When asked how he was going to start the process, LePage replied, “Freshman, seniors, no more tax on pensions.”

He said he might want to lower the top tax rate, as he did in his first term a decade ago, and increase the exemption for low-income people from paying any tax.

Before taking questions from reporters, LePage addressed the gathering of candidates seeking legislative and congressional office.

“Augusta’s expenses are out of control,” LePage said.

Maine’s biennial general fund appropriations for fiscal years 2022-23 approved by the Democratic- and Mills-controlled legislature total $8.7 billion, according to the Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review.

That’s $1.5 billion more than the $7.2 billion allocated in LePage’s last two years in office, fiscal years 2018-19, according to the Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review.

“The state is not an $8 billion state. It just isn’t,” LePage told WMTW.

One way he would seek to cut the budget would be to cut the government payroll by hundreds of positions.

LePage said, “State employees – we have way too many. We’re not an employment agency. What we should be doing is having effective work rules.”

Although Maine’s unemployment rate fell to 3.2%, near a pre-pandemic low, LePage said only 58% of the workforce is employed or looking for work, down from 65 to 66 % when in office.

He said this decline had occurred “over the past three years,” but according to the Maine Department of Labor, the civilian labor force participation rate was 59% in May 2022, was 62.8% when Mills took office in January 2019 and peaked during the LePage. years to 65.1% in July 2013.

Refund checks are now arriving in mailboxes.

LePage said in his speech, “Instead of sending everyone $850, I would have put that in an account, I would have gone to all the oil dealers in Maine, ‘You charge $2, 2.50 $, and we’ll make up the difference from that fund’ so people can afford to heat their homes.

To provide additional inflation relief to Mainers, LePage called on Mills to suspend the state’s 30-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax and tolls on trucks carrying food and other goods in the area. ‘State.

However, no Maine governor can take such action unilaterally; gasoline tax changes are subject to legislative approval, and tolls are overseen by the Maine Turnpike Authority’s Board of Directors.

Two-thirds of Maine’s toll revenue comes from out-of-state drivers, said MTA spokeswoman Erin Courtney.

Suspending the gas tax, the main source of highway maintenance, would save the average driver, someone who drives 15,000 miles a year with a 25 MPG vehicle, $22 a year, a said Mills’ spokeswoman Lindsay Crete.

The unity rally followed Tuesday’s statewide primaries, which staged a general election featuring familiar faces like LePage and Mills leading the poll.

Former Congressman Bruce Poliquin will take on Congressman Jared Golden on the battleground in Maine’s 2nd congressional district.

After winning the primary by 20%, Poliquin was publicly endorsed by his main opponent, Liz Caruso.

Former Navy SEAL Ed Thelander challenges Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in the 1st Congressional District.

“The only way to win in November is for everyone to work together and work as hard as they can,” Maine Republican Party Chairman Demo Kouzounas said at the rally.

“We have to run scared,” she said, “like we’re 10 points behind.”

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