Gov. Paul LePage takes an order while tending bar at the Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell on Monday. LePage was the celebrity bartender to benefit a foundation set up by quadruple amputee Travis Mills to help fellow military veterans. 

Here’s a heads-up for anyone waiting on tables around Maine: You might want to be wary about serving Gov. Paul LePage.

The governor told a radio host for Z105.5’s Breakfast Club that he’s so determined to fight the phase-out of the tip credit that he’s slashed the size of his tips to prove a point.

“I cut the tip in half and then I put the comment, ‘Call your legislator,’ on my charge card” receipt, LePage said Tuesday.

“If I know who the legislator is, I’ll put their name down,” LePage told host Matt Boutwell, who calls himself Matty B on air.

LePage said he believes the only way to get the Legislature to take action to restore the tip credit is for lawmakers to feel enough public pressure to cause them to buckle.


But LePage doesn’t think legislators will give in.

“I don’t think it’s going to get by because the Democrats are in power and they’re pretty stalwart about it,” LePage said.

The tip credit phase-out is part of a ballot referendum that voters adopted in November that hiked the minimum wage from $7.50 to $9 starting this year, with annual increases locked in until it reaches $12 an hour.

The proposition also revised the tip credit rules so that employers will have to pay a greater share until the non-tip portion of a worker’s pay reaches the minimum wage level, probably in 2024 — a move that LePage has repeatedly argued will hurt employees and businesses that rely on tips, especially restaurants.

In addition to his comments about the tip credit, which the Legislature is eyeing for possible revision, LePage told the radio station that he thinks the school year should be squeezed so that children start after Labor Day and get out of class by Memorial Day.

“We take way, way too many vacations here in Maine” that wind up dragging out the school year well into June sometimes, he said.


The governor said it would be easier on parents to figure out how to deal with child care for one long block of time in the summer rather than in bits and pieces all through the year.

“We could do much, much better than we do,” LePage said.

He said that a longer summer break would open the door for young Mainers to get summer jobs sooner.

“Maine kids don’t want to work now,” LePage said, and typically “don’t learn to work until they’re 16. Frankly, it’s too late.”

The governor said that he began working at age 9 — which he conceded may be “a little young,” but by 14, he said, they could be busing tables or otherwise earning some money and learning what it takes to hold a job.

Maine law allows those who are younger than 14 to work in nonhazardous jobs in children’s camps, hospitals, nursing homes, municipalities, domestic work in or about a private home or in the planting, cultivating or harvesting of field crops in agriculture. Some of those positions, though, are off-limits because federal labor standards don’t allow employment of those younger than 14.


The list of allowable jobs grows as youngsters get older, though they’re not allowed to work hazardous jobs until they reach 18.

LePage also had some kind words for Maine’s growing craft beer industry.

“There’s a lot that the craft beer industry brings to Maine and not to mention what it does for the whole tourism industry,” the governor said. “It’s a remarkable industry. It really is.”

He said he’s a big fan.

“I enjoy going to different places and trying their local beers,” LePage said.

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