AUGUSTA – Scott Ogden, spokesman for the Janet Mills for Governor campaign, issued the following statement today blasting a false TV ad from American Principles Project, an out-of-state, LePage-allied PAC disguising itself as Maine Families First with one mega-donor. The Virginia-based group put $1 million behind its ad buy.
“Paul LePage’s out-of-state allies are at it again, unloading a massive amount of money to peddle lies and mislead Maine people in a desperate attempt to bail out LePage’s sinking ship of a campaign.
“Maine people know Janet Mills. They know she’s balanced every budget, never raised taxes, delivered tax relief, quadrupled the Rainy Day Fund, and brought together Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to deliver $850 in inflation relief – one of the strongest measures in the country.
“Compare that to Paul LePage, who saw the sales tax go up on his watch, whose policies drove up property taxes, and who suggested – just yesterday – that he would let counties raise taxes on Maine people.
“The bottom-line is that Paul LePage is the one with a record of raising costs on Maine families, while Janet Mills is the one who has delivered them relief.”
The ad falsely claims that Governor Mills tried to raise Maine’s gas tax by up to 40 cents per gallon. The Governor does not support raising the gas tax, and she has not raised any taxes.
The ad also falsely claims that the Governor enacted a grocery tax. The legislation, which hasn’t taken effect yet and was sponsored by Republican State Senator Rick Bennett of Oxford, shifts the cost of recycling off the shoulders of local property taxpayers and onto corporations for hard-to-recycle packaging. The law requires corporations to reimburse municipalities for disposal costs.
Governor Mills has delivered substantial relief to Maine families, including $850 inflation relief checks (averaging $1700 per Maine family), cutting taxes for retirees, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, expanding property tax relief, and fully-funding education and state aid to municipalities – all of which relieve the burden on property taxpayers.
In fact, Governor Mills’ most recent property tax bill stated: “Revenue Sharing and State Aid to Education have already reduced local property taxes for the fiscal year by approximately 42 percent.”
The American Principles Project has a history in Maine and nationally of peddling false and misleading political communications. The group misrepresented itself as a Maine news organization while conducting a poll earlier this year and has now carefully skirted Maine ethics reporting law by timing the buy to immediately after the end of a reporting period, which means the only public known donor to the group is Thomas Klingenstein. Klingenstein is a LePage donor who chairs the Claremont Institute, which has been described as “the nerve center for the American right.”