Two tax code proposals that Gov. Paul LePage vetoed recently have come back to lawmakers at the hand of the governor himself, raising questions about why LePage supports concepts now that he vetoed just a few weeks ago.
The answer, according to his staff, is that he wants tax reform considered as a package, not piece-by-piece. However, considering a range of initiatives in a single bill puts all of the initiatives at risk if the larger bill fails.
Both bills were unanimously supported by the Legislature.
LePage included language from the two bills in what is known as the governor’s “change package,” which includes numerous adjustments to his biennial budget proposal. The change package is under review by the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.
In late March, LePage vetoed LD 13, which sought to exempt libraries from sales and service provider taxes.
“This bill may have merit in its own right, and other services provides at a municipal level may benefit from examining the initiative that libraries have taken to coordinate regionally and explore opportunities to reduce the cost of providing services,” wrote LePage in his veto letter. “However, now is not the time to grant targeted exemptions.”
On that same day in March, LePage vetoed LD 48, which seeks to reduce registration fees and excise taxes for for-hire vehicles with equipment designed for use by people with disabilities. LePage’s veto letter contained very similar language to his LD 13 letter.
Language from the two vetoed bills appears on page and 27 and 61 of the governor’s change package, respectively.
Though this series of events shows that there is widespread support for the two measures right up to the governor’s office, LePage’s insistence that they be folded into his budget proposal means he’s willing to consider supporting them only if they attached to other provisions that are his priorities. This has become a familiar tactic by LePage and, at times, Democrats in the Legislature.