Official: LePage tax exemption allowed in Florida

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Florida county has closed its investigation into a tax exemption claimed by the family of Maine Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage on a Florida home, concluding that the $1,400 tax break was allowed under state law, a tax official ruled Monday.

In a letter to LePage's lawyer, the property appraiser in Volusia County, Fla., said the homestead exemption in 2008 and 2009 was OK because of an exception allowing the tax break on a Florida home maintained for a dependent. LePage contends the home was bought to help his wife care for her ailing mother.

LePage had said there was a paperwork mistake in which his wife claimed homes in Maine and Florida as primary residences. But his attorney pointed out the exception under Florida law.

His wife Ann is now a Maine resident again. After LePage's June victory in the GOP primary, she transferred her residency back to Maine, a LePage spokesman said.

In a statement Monday, LePage said opponents turned a family matter — sorting out the best way to care for his elderly mother-in-law — into a "vicious smear campaign."

"My opponents have tried to distract the people of Maine from the issues of this campaign. They would rather twist the truth than talk about Maine being the toughest place in the country to grow a business and the 50,000 unemployed Mainers," LePage said. "My campaign is focused on putting people before politics and that will be my message over the final week of this election."

According to the LePages' attorney, Ann LePage went to Florida after her father died in the fall of 2007 to care for her mother, who suffers from scleroderma, an autoimmune disorder, as well as pulmonary hypertension. Ann LePage rented a home before buying a home in December 2008.

After the purchase, Ann LePage listed the home as her primary residence, but she failed to change the status of the home in Waterville that she'd previously claimed as primary residence. In September, the LePages corrected the Waterville and paid the $227.93 in taxes owed, the LePage campaign said.

Morgan Gilreath Jr., property appraiser in Volusia County, noted that the Florida situation was unusual — so unusual that there's no place on the homestead exemption form or statement of gross income to make note of the exception to Florida's law. There's also no notation on the county website, he said.

Because of the exception, Ann LePage can list Maine as her primary residence while continuing to claim the homestead exemption in Florida as long her mother lives in the home and the LePages maintain it and provide for her, making her "naturally dependent," said her attorney, William A. Lee III of Waterville, who is licensed in Maine and Florida.

But Democratic Party spokesman Arden Manning wasn't letting LePage off the hook. He said the LePages were using a new rationale. "It seems like Paul LePage's story is changing yet again," he said.

The brouhaha over the LePage family's taxes escalated when LePage blew up in September when asked about the tax issue at news conferences in Portland and Augusta. He later apologized, saying he was protective of his family and felt his wife was being attacked.

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RONALD RIML's picture

So will Guv'ner LePage now get to....

Preside over the 'Fire Sale' that will be the State of Maine once he's in Office???

He's had plenty of experience over at Mardens

Mark Elliott's picture

There is a ceiling for every

There is a ceiling for every job. Working in one job for 25 years doesn't justify breaking that ceiling. If after 25 years a teacher feels he or she needs to make more money, then it's time for a career change or time to climb that ladder of success! (or they can stop paying the unions!) They do not "do this work for the state" they do it for the children!

RONALD RIML's picture

Obviously there ISN'T a ceiling for every job.....

If Manager of Marden's qualifies one for Guv'nor of Maine..... WTFO.... \--0--/

 's picture

Who got banned?

Can I make my short list one shorter?

 's picture

Lepage===embarrassment to all Mainers

I am starting to get quite nervous as November 2nd nears. The candidates all seem sketchy and unprepared. It is a great possibility that Paul Lepage will be our next governor, and I can't help but think that he will only further destruct our already weak state. His plans will only further damage the education system creating more uneducated Mainers, and his economic plans will only fatten the wallets of those who don't need it. It is clear that the candidates are all throw away votes, but PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR PAUL LEPAGE!!!

 's picture

The Democrats have been

The Democrats have been throwing our money at education for decades and all we have to show for it are happy teachers and happier unions. The student population state-wide has been declining for years, but the education budget goes up every year like clockwork - and the graduation rate goes down. If this is the system that LePage will damage, then GO PAUL!

Mark Elliott's picture

Mardens is what it is because

Mardens is what it is because they have found a niche market. They buy insurance claims! That's their business! That's what it's always been! If you want a fancy clean store, go to Walmart! If Mardens isn't in your taste, then stop going there! It's that simple!

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 's picture

She's a snowbird

So Mrs. LaPage becomes a snowbird to take care of her MIL for 6 months of the year, who takes care of her during the rest of the year ?

RONALD RIML's picture

Check with Lou Dobbs;

He didn't have any trouble finding an 'Illegal' or two to hire, and it appears there's over 700,000 of them in Florida.

RONALD RIML's picture

Successful Republican - "No Tax Loophole goes Unrewarded!!"

And LePage also leveraged 'Florida Resident College Tuition' at a greatly reduced cost for his offspring - Betcha he's glad he got it when he saw it!!

 's picture

Have you any idea what the

Have you any idea what the State of Maine pays taking care of grandma or grandpa? When was the last time you saw a family splitup to look after grandma or grandpa or the grandkids helping out, I pay taxes in Florida and I donate my professional services to organizations and towns (free of charge paying my own expenses) in the State of Maine and contribute to the subsidy Maine receives from the federal government, remember for every $1 paid in federal income taxes from individuals and businesses in Maine $1.79 comes back. Florida is one of those on the negative side states bailing you out and also paying for national defense etc which you are not contributing to since all your income tax money is coming back and then some. These kids have been helping out with grandma and graduated from Volusia County Schools, fantastic. They got a much better education than they would have in Maine. They are now being rewarded for their good citizenship with in state tuition and I expect Bright Futures Scholarships and I am all for it. Maybe, just maybe if you get a decent legislature and governor in on November 2, and the country gets a decent president and Congress in over the next two years their will be some economic development here and the LePage kids will be able to come back to Maine when they graduate and pay taxes here instead of having someplace else benefit.

 's picture

I loaned my laptop with its

I loaned my laptop with its satellite connection to a very nice guy I met at the airport who has been working for a nonprofit in Maine and is from Florida. He is on vacation and on a layover at the same airport, small world. He put in a comment under my user name a few hours ago. He really hit the nail on the head and sure agreed with you Nancy1 as do I. Maine has become the destination of choice for those young people with no education, who do not want to work and want every the benefit ever conceived of. It is also a haven for legal immigrants who have no intentions of assimilating and becoming citizens or productive members of society. Maine has the worldwide reputation of being the place to go for a cushy free ride in the United States. He said he had come to Maine because he had been told that Maine was very much in need and hoped to help, "make a difference" he said. Now he can't wait to fulfill his obligations and leave because after being in Maine for two years he realizes it is what it is because the people want it that way. He said, and I agree with him on this also, you can help people who want to change to change, there is nothing you can do except enable those who don't want change by trying to help them. He said it was time for the federal government, nonprofits and foundations to take the tough love approach with Maine.

RONALD RIML's picture

There's no migrants to Florida?? What about Ellian's Mama??

"Maine’s share of foreign-born migrants is less than three percent of its overall population." --

"As the fourth largest state, Florida is home to 2.7 million, or 17 percent, foreign-born residents. According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than 700,000 illegal immigrants currently reside in Florida." -

RONALD RIML's picture

Use this link for Florida statement

Ya right..

He is trying to drum up symphathy with the story of his mother in law...he stil is a hot head and I wouldn't want him running anything I had...let alone the State of Maine..this is so timely don't you think??????

 's picture

Timely mimil, as in, you

Timely mimil, as in, you resent that Florida cleared his name officially before November 2? Timely in it came out the same day SJ showed it's ass by backing Cutler after a lengthy article praising LePage then calling him a discrediting him as a candidate by determining him a "hot head" over what and doing what? Ah, let me see, walking away from reporters after having explained this and their continuing to badger him weeks later even when they had the information from the Volusia County Tax Appraiser that exhonerated him. Give me a break. We need a goverment with some stones not another Democrat governer, Cutler, hiding as an Independent. SJ slipped up when they posted his resume i.e. he started out working for DEMOCRAT Ed Muskie etc. Cutler is another Democrat politcian in sheeps clothing. Before you go all nuts, until I read the editorial, I had not made up my mind.

Mark Elliott's picture

I like the way they say it

I like the way they say it was "allowed", like Florida decided to give it to them! The law wasn't broken in the first place, it never was. I am quite sure I remember someone telling us that too! Who was it? .....Oh yeah, Paul himself told us this! Imagine that, he tells the truth and gets dragged through the mud for it......... typical democrat election tactics. Let's lie about him and hope nobody finds out the truth until after the election! Your tactics backfired again democrats! You can't use lies to discredit a man that tells the truth!

Mark Elliott's picture

You obviously haven't paid

You obviously haven't paid attention because he DID calmly explain the week before the "incident" but the media isn't showing you that. He had been hounded for a week about it and was sick and tired of explaining over and over. The "incident" took place at a press conference that was already decided was going to be about the issues our state faces. The reporter that asked the question was out of line and had ill intentions no doubt!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Nahh, it's pretty clear; you

Nahh, it's pretty clear; you hate Bush and any word that doesn't end in RAT.


I agree with your comment, but it didn't show up as agree on the page..uuummmm???? strange

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

That's original.

That's original.

Mark Elliott's picture

and her dishonest tactics are

and her dishonest tactics are backfiring.....

 's picture

why bother apologizing?

His apology would be a lie too.


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