LePage: Big company didn't ask about Maine taxes #mepolitics

When Governor Paul LePage was trying to woo Airbus to build a plant in Maine (it went to Alabama), he talked to Airbus Americas chairman Allan McArtor.

In that conversation, LePage told the Portland Community Chamber "Eggs and Issues" breakfast yesterday, there were three topics of conversation, according to the governor:

-LePage offered Airbus land in or near Brunswick for $1.

-McArtor asked about electricty costs, and LePage said he had to think quickly - rather than saying Maine's is the 10th highest in the nation, the governor said "the lowest in New England."

-And then McArtor asked if Maine was a "right-to-work" state, and the governor replied, "No, but we're working on it!"

Of course, politicians often take anecdotes from their experiences and use them to make political points on issues of interest.

But LePage's conversation is notable for two reasons.

First, despite LePage's often troubled relationship with the truth, Airbus Americas is not disputing his account of the conversation. Corporate spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn wrote in an email that the company doesn't "speak publicly about private discussions with our potential and existing business partners."

And second, LePage left out one thing he would have included had it occurred: the tax conversation. If we assume LePage was recounting the conversation accurately, and with the goal of making maximum political points, then McArtor did not inquire about Maine's tax rates - corporate or personal.

That must come as a huge relief - and definitely a reducer of LePage's workload - because he has previously believed that companies were very concerned about the state's tax burden when deciding whether or not to come here.

No word from Airbus on the final piece of the governor's anecdote - whether McArtor will in fact come to Maine in July and let LePage "buy him a lobster."


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