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Politics

Democrats Gather to Highlight Poliquin’s Tax Payment History

Several Maine Democrats gathered outside the Bangor offices of GOP 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin Monday to highlight the congressman’s questionable use of state tree growth tax exemption laws and a lengthy record of late payments on his property taxes.

Democrats say Poliquin continues to maintain a cavalier attitude about his tax payments, but Republicans are dismissing the event as a meaningless political stunt.

The story of Poliquin’s problems with the tree growth tax exemption goes back more than four years, when lawmakers focused on the former Wall Street investor’s efforts to use 10 acres of oceanfront property in Georgetown as a tax shelter by claiming he was managing the timber under the state exemption law.

Town and state officials concluded he had not violated any of the law’s provisions, but Poliquin subsequently decided to move the acreage out of the program.

Katie Baker, of the Maine Democratic Party, says Poliquin’s tax problems aren’t just in the past.

“Just recently, the Associated Press reported that Congressman Poliquin was late paying his taxes a total of 41 times including 31 within the last decade,” Baker says. “And while that number is shocking, it’s certainly not surprising.”

Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party, says Democrats are simply trying to identify problems that don’t exist, and Poliquin’s taxes are paid up to date.

“Congressman Poliquin has always paid his taxes in full, all of them, every time,” Savage says. “What we heard there was really just an attack on a fake issue, that Democrats are desperate to come up with something to attack Congressman Poliquin while he’s working on jobs, fighting the opioid crisis, national security issues. He’s working on real issues that matter.”

Savage says all political candidates should be held to a higher standard on tax issues than the average taxpayer, but emphasized that Poliquin has no tax problems.

Democratic Rep. Adam Goode of Bangor says he was offended by Poliquin’s response to his penalty fee on those late tax payments. The congressman dismissed the issue to the Associated Press as “the cost of doing business.”