Forbes: LePage welfare quotes inaccurate

Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday told a crowd of 100 people that a Forbes representative told his office the state must cut spending, reduce energy costs and address structural problems — which LePage interpreted as "welfare" — or the state would continue to be "in the cellar" of the magazine's rankings of the best states for business.

Paul LePage
AP Photo

Paul LePage 

Forbes says it told the governor's office no such thing.

"I certainly didn't say anything about welfare costs, which has nothing to do with the ranking that we do," said Forbes senior editor Kurt Badenhausen, who spoke to the governor's office when it called the magazine. "I didn't tell them they needed to reduce energy costs. I told them, basically, the best thing they could do, and that any local government could do, was just to try and create more jobs."

A memo sent last week to LePage from his senior economic policy adviser backs up Badenhausen's version.

Badenhausen, who worked for more than three years at Financial World magazine before joining Forbes in 1998 as part of the statistics department, is the editor responsible for Forbes' business school rankings, the America's Best Small Companies list and the annual Best Places for Business rankings. He confirmed he spoke with someone from the governor's office recently, but he adamantly denied telling anyone that Maine must reduce energy costs and spending if it wants to improve in the ranking. Welfare, he said, isn't considered in Forbes' rankings and Maine isn't alone in its energy costs.

"Energy costs are high across the board in New England, and that's a fundamental reality for businesses in the Northeast. That's a hard thing to fix," Badenhausen said. 

To come up with its rankings, Forbes considers 37 points of data in six categories: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. This year, Maine ranked 44th in business costs, 28th in labor supply, 45th in regulatory environment, 42nd in economic climate, 50th in growth prospects and 17th in quality of life. Overall, Maine ranked 50th for the second year in a row.

LePage commented on the ranking Wednesday during a town hall-style meeting at Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township, near Kingfield. He said he wanted to know why Maine did so poorly, "So we asked them."

"They said, 'You made some efforts and you've done some good things in some areas, but you absolutely ignored the structural problems.' Which are our welfare and our energy. We did nothing," LePage told the crowd. "And they said, 'Unless you get your fiscal house in order, and you address energy, you address work force development, and you get yourself (so) that you spend within your means, you're in the cellar.' This mission here this year, you're going to hear an awful lot of education, energy and the economy. Unfortunately, we're starting out with welfare, because we're going broke." 

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said Thursday that the governor meant welfare in general — as in the state's welfare or Mainers' welfare — and not the welfare system, when he spoke of welfare being a structural problem and addressing welfare "because we're going broke."

She said his comments had nothing to do with his proposed $220 million in cuts to the state's MaineCare insurance system.

Bennett said the governor got his Forbes information from his senior economic policy adviser John Butera, who spoke to Badenhausen. But the memo Butera sent to LePage last week contained no quotes from Badenhausen, offered no advice from Badenhausen, did not suggest the state ranked poorly because it ignored structural problems and did not mention welfare — either the welfare of Mainers or the state's welfare system.

The memo told LePage that Maine improved in three categories: business cost, regulatory climate and economic climate. It said Maine worsened in two: labor supply and growth prospects. 

Although Butera told LePage that "there is still significant room for improvement as the (business cost) analysis includes taxes, labor and energy costs," he said Badenhausen "basically indicated our overall ranking was due to the dismal, five-year outlook on job growth coupled with low projected population growth."

Bennett said the governor based his Wednesday comments solely on the memo.

"It was the governor's take on it," she said.

She could not say why the governor appeared to quote Forbes when no such quotes were available.

"Our staff, you know, talked to them," Bennett said. "So, I think he started out saying, 'They said,' and then he kind of goes to his thoughts, then he goes back to 'They said.' It's just the way he speaks. The more one-on-one time you get with him, you understand these things."

Forbes Memo

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Phyllis Hyde's picture

Adrienne Bennett

At what point is Adrienne Bennett going to get tired of explaining what Gov. LePage "meant" or "meant to say", and just quit? It will probably be reported that she left for a better opportunity (like time off to let her ulcer heal...) If she doesn't have an ulcer yet, she will if she stays with the Gov. for 4 years.

By the way, is it possible in Maine to "recall" a governor? I think that, in the case of the 2010 gubernatorial election, there should have been a runoff election between LePage and Cutler, so that the governor who serves at least was voted for by a majority of voters. Having a governor who won with 39% of the vote isn't good. There should be a change in the law to ensure in the future that governors who are sworn into office have 50.01% or more of the votes.

CRYSTAL WARD's picture


The governor was NOT talking about welfare and it had nothing to do with the $220 MILLION PROPOSED CUT? Lets see-- Governor LePage lies and then his staff lies to cover it up and Forbes tells the truth but LePages lie is correct?? Governor LePage tried to use a Forbes report to make things fit the way he wanted it to -- but he got caught in the lie and now his spin doctors are trying as hard as they can to make these lies come out as truth -- Not telling the truth is neither Republican or Democrat-- it is dishonest

 's picture

don't get sick

Real, hardworking, god fearing Americans don't get sick! It's only the lazy lay-abouts that do.

 's picture


Oh, and if you do get sick, just slink off into a corner somewhere so we don't have to look at you.

 's picture

Lie after lie

after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie

Mike Lachance's picture

looks like 12 of 'em are

looks like 12 of 'em are yours...

 's picture

My what


Larry LaBossiere's picture

LePage's Comments

It may not have been said in the report but if you don't think there is a problem with the welfare system in Maine being over burdensome you must be living with your head in the sand.

Larry LaBossiere's picture

LePage's Comments

It may not have been said in the report but if you don't think there is a problem with the welfare system in Maine being over burdensome you must be living with your head in the sand.

 's picture

I checked yesterday's story

It is clear from yesterday's article that LePage was speaking about the welfare system because he lumped MaineCare and Medicare together as costing more than what is being put into the system. His press secretary's explaination is a lie also. He was not speaking about the general welfare of the state.

RONALD RIML's picture

What else is new.....

Governor LePage....

Mike Lachance's picture

I see the children have been

I see the children have been let out of daycare early this morning...

RONALD RIML's picture

You're right....

They are every day.

That's why my 'Disagrees' outnumber my 'Agrees'

Jason Theriault's picture

We hear what we want to hear

I know he's dealing with budget shortfalls and whatnot, but I though jobs were going to be his top priority. He is operating under the false assumption that more "Business Friendly" equates to more jobs.

Want an example?
Here is the top 6 vs bottom 6 and their unemployment:

Utah 7 Vermont 5.6
Virginia 6.4 Mississippi 10.6
North Carolina 10.4 Michigan 10.6
North Dakota 3.5 Rhode Island 10.4
Colorado 8.1 Hawaii 6.5
Texas 8.4 Maine 7.3

Maine, for being dead last, looks to be doing pretty good, unemployment-wise

Jason Theriault's picture

That didn't format well

That didn't format well

 's picture

None of it matters. It's high

None of it matters. It's high time the monster the working class has been feeding and growing is cut down to size. Don't have insurance? Tough. Most of us, many of whom have worked our arses off since childhood have gone without, sucked it up, and if needed worked several jobs to make ends meet. It's called life. If you're so damned lazy that you need to ride on the backs of what few workers are left in this state due to anti-business liberal policies of the past few decades, the least you can do is have the fortitude not to complain about the view. Welfare isn't work, people, and the sooner the morlocks of this state figure that out and actually make an attempt to work their way out of a difficult position instead of laying back and holding out their hands the better off we'll all be.

Mike Lachance's picture

Well said Doug. Very well

Well said Doug. Very well said.

 's picture

Are his pants on fire yet?

LePage is a pathological liar, he started over a year ago, reemember the buffalo count? There was absolutely no truth in that whatsoever, then he claimed that tire ruts were being ruled as vernal pools by the state. Then the florida fiasco, adopted son? The whole mural issue brought his lack of honesty to the forefront.
More important is that during his first year he has continually used lies to support and defend his initiatives and proposals.
In addition to the complete lie about comments frm Forbes magazine about welfare and energy costs, he also claimed in the same town meeting that our gas tax is the highest in the nation, it's not. Finally in answering a question about road repair he claimed that DOT had done as much repair work this year as they had done last year, at a savings of over $100 million. The depoartment said themselves that they planned 75% less basic road repair work, because of the slashed budget given to them by LePage and the current legislature.
We have weekly evidence of his lies, You know the old joke, How can you tell when the Governor is lying? When his mouth is moving! Only the joke is on us.

Mike Lachance's picture

Actually, Terry, thats not

Actually, Terry, thats not the old joke, thats your joke... the actual joke is:

"How can you tell when a politicianis lying? His mouth is moving!"

And that joke definately applies to most every Democrat I've every followed.

 's picture

girl working at Scarborough Wal Mart

I hope you all have looked for and found the article in which this college student tells of her first hand experiences at Wal Mart and how people paid for items with welfare and food stamps ... this is a viral You Tube and should be fairly easy to find if you look for it. Viral means wide spread but not a virus containing item.

Please read this and forward it to all the state legislative branches and members before they make any cuts in the welfare program as well as the Director of DHHS and
The Governor of Maine. Thank you and let’s not let all those drastic cuts happen.

 's picture

nothing like using anecdotal

nothing like using anecdotal evidence and second hand information to make decisions that effect lives. Perhaps the young lady can explain how many fellow Walmart employees are on DHHS benefits of somekind because of their low wages and limited hours. Or perhaps you can go to Mardens' and find one of LePage's "most efficent" employees, Remember his "poster child" for welfare benefits? The single mom that worked for $10 an hour, and LePage agreed to keep her pay at $10 an hour in order to allow her to keep "welfare" benefits. What happened to her,, or was that perhaps a lie?
I]ll never say there is no fraud in welfare, but the amount defrauded by the few cheating recipients is far outweighed by fruad coming from hospitals and doctors over charges, fraud from pharmacies that overbill for items never sold, and billing services that pad their accounts with unearned tax payer dollars.
LePage is willing to kick close to 10% of the state under the bus because his conservative backers believe that they way to economic success is to demonize anyone getting government assistance.
Cut corporate welfare, and restore the massive tax cuts given to the wealthy, the budge will balance just like it did over the last 8 years.

Mike Lachance's picture

Wait.. what? The "few"

Wait.. what?
The "few" cheating welfare recipients are outweighed by hospitals padding their wallets with unerned taxpayer dollars?

Wait.. err.. "unearned" taxpayer dollars?

You mean taxpayer dollars *I* earned that went to a non-working welfare collecting slouch who goes to the E.R. for non-E.R. services, therefore requiring the hospital MUSt provide service.

I say the problem isnt with LePage, and it isnt with the Doctors and Hospitals.
Let's start by eliminating DIRIGO and start turning away "patients" who visit the ER with NON-ER healthcare needs.


 's picture

anyone who trying to coerce

anyone who trying to coerce by use of f-o-r-b-e-s obviously is just... talking. how ridiculous is he!

 's picture

I rest my case

This is exactly what I said in my comments yesterday when LePage was quoted as saying it was energy and welfare. It is rather depressing that LePage's staff tries to cover up his lying. It is a terrible thing when a governor lies constantly. It amazes me that LePage doesn't seem to know that facts can checked or he just doesn't care.

Sandra Coulombe's picture

I'm not surprised at all but

I'm not surprised at all but I am also pretty certain lying and twisting of half truths is not limited to either political party. My daddy used to say 'How can you tell a politician is lying? His mouth is moving." I'm pretty sure it was true then and I'm certain it is true now.

Mike Lachance's picture

You cant possibly be serious.

You cant possibly be serious. "The republican way?"
We must have all forgot how pious and honest Democrats have been over the last 40 years.
Look what Dems did to Maine.

Nevermind, I'm sure youre convinced Maine is in the shape it is today because of 40 years of Republican policies.

Get Real.

Mike Lachance's picture

Ya thats it Dan, Maine wasnt

Ya thats it Dan,
Maine wasnt in the shape it is today 11 months ago??

Baldacci said Dirigo would lower healthcare costs = LIE
Baldacci said Dirigo would be affordable = LIE
I could go on and on....

Wait, I forgot, it was the Republicans who put us into the toilet in just the last 11 months...


Mike Lachance's picture

That "massive" tax cut is

That "massive" tax cut is fair considering i still pay ZERO taxes. (I DO pay them every year and they send it all back to me at the end of the year PLUS some extra for my troubles... one year they sent me back MORE than I calculated and said i made an error!!)

Why not just eliminate all taxes from those making over $100k a year, then we'd have a fair net taxation policy. Or, maybe we can just start ACTUALLY taxing those who are NOT "rich" and even things out a bit.

Ya cant fix stupid I guess.

RONALD RIML's picture


I call B.S.

You pay zero taxes????

No property taxes? No sales taxes? No gasoline taxes? No communications taxes?? No alcohol taxes?

How the hell do you do that, Mike???

The rest of us would like to know.

Mike Lachance's picture

Well, im referringto income

Well, im referringto income taxes, but when yopu factor in the amount im getting back over and above the amount i pay in, it almost quashes out all other taxes i might pay in every other category. (property taxes might be the exception).... which lead u to wonder why our property taxes are so high? (no mysetry)

So.. Ron... no BS, just reality. And guess what... if i dont buy much, drink much or drive much, and rent an apt.... then all those taxes are useless! Call B.S. all you want, but it would be a foolish call.

RONALD RIML's picture


Why only refer to 'Income Tax' when there are so many???

Don't think a renter doesn't pay 'Property' taxes. He does - for the property owner, who then gets to deduct them from his gross business income.

Why are property taxes high?? Have you gone to any budget meetings for any of the taxing entities. If so - what did you learn. If not - shame on you.

Mike Lachance's picture

Income tax is the benchmark.

Income tax is the benchmark. You make money you should get taxed on it and not get hidden "tax welfare" income from the IRS in the form of credits, etc)

RONALD RIML's picture


You write: "Income Tax is the benchmark"

Benchmark of what???

Mike Lachance's picture

The benchmark of taxation of

The benchmark of taxation of those who EARN money. So are you saying income tax for the "super rich" and big business doesnt mean much? Convienient how these things are important when they support your uber-weak arguements and unimportant when they illuminate the holes in such tattered ideaologies.

"Tax the rich" you scream! What do you want to tax them on? If they make no income they cease to be a business. Of course perhaps you feel the rich should be taxed differently than the poor? Or the same? Seems like "fair" is a subjective thing depending on with side of the public teet you happen to be on.

Mike Lachance's picture

Well, Dan, I *DO* pay taxes,

Well, Dan, I *DO* pay taxes, but, unlike the "super rich" or whatever you wanna call them, the Govt keeps giving it all back to me and then some every year. Why?

Mike Lachance's picture

Children , EIC and "Making

Children , EIC and "Making work Pay"

Isnt it funny how "making work pay" actually translates to "making the rich pay" because I work, I pay, the the Govt gives me my money back (and then some) and make the "rich" pay the rest.

Tax break for the rich?

The lie is old.

RONALD RIML's picture


Mike - You are the 'Working Poor' with the E.I.C.

The wealthy are paying the least amount of their stash since the days of the Robber Barons. With welfare and E.I.C. the govt keeps the Barbarians from the Gates, and cities aren't being burnt down as in the mid 60's.

Mike Lachance's picture

Working Poor? By who's

Working Poor? By who's standards?
Guess what Ron, When the Govt stops PAYING people to be poor and starts actually taxing EVERY how works (whether they make $200 a year or $200,000) then we can talk about "FAIR"... The only ones actually PAYING taxes (on income, especially, since thats what we base all "consumption" by) then your blind copmplaints might be taken seriously.

tax EVERYONE on ALL income, and taxes would be WAY lower for businesses small or large.

Question, If I make $250000 paying 15% in taxes, and my neighbor makes $25000 paying 25% in taxes but then gets all of those taxes BACK plus a few grand to boot, how is my 20% rate unfair?

Whatever man. The second you open your eyes and admit the hypocrisy here is the second folks start taking you seriously!

RONALD RIML's picture

It's not me...

It's the Government that says you are a 'Low Wage' Earner. That's why you get the 'Earned Income Credit'

Earned Income Tax Credit Puts Dollars in the Pockets of Working Families

Q1. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

A1. The earned income credit (EITC) is a tax credit for certain people who work and have low wages. A tax credit usually means more money in your pocket. It reduces the amount of tax you owe. The EITC may also give you a refund.

Mike Lachance's picture

Ha! HAHA! "Certain people who

"Certain people who work and have low wages". Got news for ya bubb, Those wages dont have to be "low" if you have a family, wife, kids, etc. Additionally, the "Making Work Pay" is another veiled IRS welfare plan that throws money at families... many of whom are "middle income" earners.

Regardless, paying workers MORe than they pay out is nothing more than welfare. And Who's paying for it? The rich. Redistribution of wealth. The IRS has been moving to a welfare bureaocracy for decades. If you make under $36000 a year and have a kid, chances are you pay ZERO income tax and get free money (IRS welfare) after credits and refunds. If you make under $100,000 chances are you pay little to NO taxes after credits and refunds.

That leaves most actual net tax PAYERS in the $100,000+ range.

Its bad enough to have 2 entire classes of earners pay zero income tax, but to actually pay them via the IRS is altogether insane.

RONALD RIML's picture


Care to clue me in on what's "Etc?"

I've worked and have had family, wife, kids - but never 'Earned Income Credit' - nor any 'Etc' as you claim.

So it's nothing more than welfare?? Obviously you're not up on the I.R.S. explanation for the credit: "it was originally designed to offset the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes paid by people in this category.."

Now if you feel that you're NOT paying the taxes you should be - there is nothing to prevent you from slipping a check off to the U.S. Treasury with a memorandum of your intent - they will be glad to take it.

I make significantly under $100,000 in retirement pensions and my small business - and certainly pay federal and state income taxes.

Interesting you bring up 'Redistribution of Wealth' - where did you learn this concept? What do you know of it? Are you referring to the 'Flow of Capital or Income' between producers and consumers which is necessary to maintain the capital model? What thought or model of economics are you referring to? Capital must always flow or redistribute in order to grow; or is there some other meaning you have garnered somewhere?

So pray tell - what suggestion other than the I.R.S. do you have for us??

Mike Lachance's picture

You dont work now, and you

You dont work now, and you definately dont have kids in your home you support (or have i missed something) you are an old retired ex-union guy. And yes, it IS nothing more than welfare when the IRS gives me back all the taxes i payed for an entire year of income, and then throws in an extra GRAND on top. I didnt "earn" that money, someone ELSE did.

The point that "im not paying the taxes i should" is moot. The point is the system is so utterly screwed up that it gives this cash out to "the working poor" as you so smugly put it. "The working Poor" is a crock of s&^t. If a person works, a person should pay income tax. If I make $50 or $50,000.

I, like you make signficantly under $100,000 in wages a year. Im working 40 hrs a week and a side business. With a family, the Govt gives me back everything. last 2 years they gave me back everything and added a few grand in to boot. If you call that a sound economic model, than there is little else to discuss here. If you think this is just the way it should be than youre happy paying ME. Thanks bubb.

As far as the "flow of Capital", your arguement is irrelevant to the point. If you'd like to argue from a socialist POV feel free, we wont agree. Union guys love this crap. There have been years when I dont get a refund, a few years where I owe a bit, other years where i get some of my tax money back, but when I get it ALL back and then someone elses money on top, there is a systemic problem.

You obviously dont get it. Earners making under $36k a year ± with a family dont pay much if any income tax, and most get cash payouts from teh Govt far beyond anything they paid in. This is back-door welfare. Period. Welcome to the USSA. You Union guys should be very happy.

RONALD RIML's picture


So you're a man with a family, you're making under $36,000 a year - and you've got time to piss away on the forum here??? And you're worried about cheating Uncle Sam???

B.S! You're cheating your family. Get away from the key-board and this forum and figure out a way to earn some more money.

I got a $3,000 order this morning for a rare book, and already shipped it off. Seems that's what you make in a month.

Got off your ass and take care of your family.

Mike Lachance's picture

Well Well, Ron... Nice to

Well Well, Ron... Nice to know how easy you crack. No BS. No cheating my family. Quite the contrary, exposing the ignorance of leftists and socialist is very much working to insure my childrens future isnt completely screwed up.

Im happy you have the time in retirement to play with old books, great to know you have found a habby that pays.

Personally, you should be worried about Uncle Sam cheating you. Because theyre not cheating me whatsoever. I like spending your money, especially knowing how little regard you have for it. At this poiint I would say I have a higher regard for your money than you do. (The Unions have done a good job on you)

Regardless, after all the hot air and personal jabs of your last post, you failed spectacularly to address a single point or question posed to you previously. Congrats on an epic debate failure and comment blow-out. (1) can of fix-a-flat headed your way.

RONALD RIML's picture


My, you are in denial.

I just can't fix stupid. I'd send you a book but you'd eat the covers off the pages then wipe your butt with those.....

Mike Lachance's picture

Implode. Hey Ron, whatever...

Hey Ron, whatever... how about addressing the questions posed to you and the points made (2) posts ago? Or have you simply given up and switched to foul?

RONALD RIML's picture

Two points.

1. Obviously you don't know enough about money to make any.

2. As a cop, I learned the futility of trying to reason with crazy people and/or drunks.

That being said, you're free to declare victory and crow all you wish.

Mike Lachance's picture

The thread has nothing to do

The thread has nothing to do with how well people make money. Your concession is wise. (Crowing not needed).

Mike Lachance's picture

When the IRS pays me money I

When the IRS pays me money I did not earn, (along with millions of others) yes, by all means, I consider that welfare. And Ive been audited by the IRS and the sent me $1000 MORE than the refund I originally filed for my return.

At least Im man enough to admit the TRUTH. And that money belongs to the "rich" who EARNED it, not a bunch of whining spoiled liberals who demand it for their own. The reality is, that this works from all levels. When I pay taxes and dont get any return (or a very small return) then things are working as they should. But that doesnt happen very often these days. Enough with the tax cuts for the poor... they arent paying for ANYTHING.

And as far as my "IRS welfare check", it belongs to the "rich"; the business owners and those who actually PAY OUT NET income taxes each year. It doesnt belong to the poor and lower middle class (and many middle class) who pay ZERO net taxes.

RONALD RIML's picture

Moi, Rich???

I'm Rich???

Oh my freakin' Lord!!! To think that because I pay out Federal and State Income Taxes every year you actually consider me rich....

The Lachances are going to the Poor-House.....!!!

Mike Lachance's picture

Doesnt matter if youve "HAD"

Doesnt matter if youve "HAD" kids, if youre retired you are clearly not going to file as you would if you were actually a working class family with actual children today. 10, 15, 25 years ago is definately not gonna give you the same tax story as familis have today.

Take the kids away and you free us millions of dollars in IRS welfare. "Making Work Pay", EIC, and Child Credits constitute so much lost revenue, to the point of becoming HUGE negative cash flow for the Fed.

I dont consider you "rich" just misguided.

Mike Lachance's picture

(a few typos in there, sorry)

(a few typos in there, sorry)


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