Dale Crafts boasts of backing Maine’s largest tax cut, but legislative record is less clear

When Republican businessman and former state legislator Dale Crafts launched his campaign for Maine’s second congressional district last October, it took him only four minutes into his speech to talk about a key moment of his eight years in the state house of representatives.“As a member of the state Legislature in 2011, I voted for the largest tax cut in Maine history,” said Crafts, who beat two opponents in a July primary to face freshman Democrat Rep. Jared Golden on Nov. 3.In an interview with me immediately following his announcement speech, Crafts again took credit for supporting the tax cut.“We had the biggest tax cut – we took 70,000 people, low-income people, who don’t even have to pay taxes. The economy improved,” he said.The $6 billion 2011 biennial budget signed by former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, did lower income tax rates with a state record $150 million in tax cuts.Crafts, 61, served in the Legislature from 2008-2016 representing his hometown of Lisbon.“I just voted the way I thought was right,” Crafts told me in a June interview. I asked him if that 2011 tax cut vote was among his proudest? He replied, “I think it is right on top of the list, because we saw good results from that.”However, the public record of the Legislature’s roll call votes shows Crafts actually voted against final passage of the 2011 budget –twice — on June 15 and again on June 16. The second vote let LePage implement the law right away, rather than waiting the usual 90 days. Crafts was one of only three Republican house members to oppose the budget, along with Jeff Timberlake and Paul Davis, who both now serve in the state senate.“It didn’t go far enough with tax cuts,” Davis said in a telephone interview. “I thought we could get quite a bit more.”Crafts objected to the spending, according to a written statement today.“As you will see with my consistent record in Augusta, I stood on my principles as a fiscal hawk that believes in less spending and voted against final enactment of that budget,” Crafts said. “I worked alongside Gov. Paul LePage to lower taxes and helped bring people together to pass the largest tax cut in Maine’s history.”LePage recruited Crafts the race, publicly endorsed him as soon as he announced, and has campaigned with him.The legislative record indicates Crafts agreed to the 2011 budget once in a unanimous house voice vote concurring with the senate’s final version of bill, on June 15, 2011, the same bill he voted against in a roll call the next day.

When Republican businessman and former state legislator Dale Crafts launched his campaign for Maine’s second congressional district last October, it took him only four minutes into his speech to talk about a key moment of his eight years in the state house of representatives.

“As a member of the state Legislature in 2011, I voted for the largest tax cut in Maine history,” said Crafts, who beat two opponents in a July primary to face freshman Democrat Rep. Jared Golden on Nov. 3.

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In an interview with me immediately following his announcement speech, Crafts again took credit for supporting the tax cut.

“We had the biggest tax cut – we took 70,000 people, low-income people, who don’t even have to pay taxes. The economy improved,” he said.

The $6 billion 2011 biennial budget signed by former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, did lower income tax rates with a state record $150 million in tax cuts.

Crafts, 61, served in the Legislature from 2008-2016 representing his hometown of Lisbon.

“I just voted the way I thought was right,” Crafts told me in a June interview. I asked him if that 2011 tax cut vote was among his proudest?

He replied, “I think it is right on top of the list, because we saw good results from that.”

However, the public record of the Legislature’s roll call votes shows Crafts actually voted against final passage of the 2011 budget –twice — on June 15 and again on June 16. The second vote let LePage implement the law right away, rather than waiting the usual 90 days.

Crafts was one of only three Republican house members to oppose the budget, along with Jeff Timberlake and Paul Davis, who both now serve in the state senate.

“It didn’t go far enough with tax cuts,” Davis said in a telephone interview. “I thought we could get quite a bit more.”

Crafts objected to the spending, according to a written statement today.

“As you will see with my consistent record in Augusta, I stood on my principles as a fiscal hawk that believes in less spending and voted against final enactment of that budget,” Crafts said. “I worked alongside Gov. Paul LePage to lower taxes and helped bring people together to pass the largest tax cut in Maine’s history.”

LePage recruited Crafts the race, publicly endorsed him as soon as he announced, and has campaigned with him.

The legislative record indicates Crafts agreed to the 2011 budget once in a unanimous house voice vote concurring with the senate’s final version of bill, on June 15, 2011, the same bill he voted against in a roll call the next day.