Gov. Paul LePage threw around a lot of facts at the Town Hall meeting in Rockland Nov. 4. We attempt to verify several of his statements here.

"There are 44,000 businesses in Maine. Two hundred have over 100 employees. The rest are less."

Mostly True  

According to the Maine Department of Labor, as of March there were 46,919 private employers in Maine and of these 635 had more than 100 employees. Though this figure is three times LePage's, his was off by only 0.9 percent of the total. Another interesting statistic: More than half of these businesses, 29,564, employ 0-4 people.

Source: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/qcew.html

"The state of Maine has 179,000 children in K-12, and 127 superintendents, and we're ranked 38 in nation. Florida has 2.8 million children in K-12 and 64 superintendents, and they are ranked 7th."

False (ranking)

There are several different ranking systems comparing education across states. In 2014, Wallethub compared states on the connection between education and future earning potential, based on factors including student dropout rate, student/teacher ratio, test scores and school safety measures. In that ranking, Maine was 17th and Florida 29th. In terms of education spending, where the state ranked first spent the most on education, Maine ranked 31st and Florida ranked 40th. In its comparison of spending and school quality, Maine's outranked several higher-spending states in education quality.

Maine ranked 14th while Florida ranked 10th in a 2013 American Legislative Exchange Council ranking on the performance of low-income general education students based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

We could not find a ranking where Maine placed 38th and Florida placed 7th, but It appears that LePage may have gotten the figure 38 from a U.S. News and World Reports ranking of high schools where The Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone was listed as the 38th best high school in the nation out of nearly 22,000 schools in 49 states.

Sources: https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-schools/5335/, http://www.alec.org/publications/report-card-on-american-education http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/10/education/limestones-maine-school-of-science-and-mathematics-ranked-38th-in-nation-by-us-news-world-report/

"We have the cleanest energy in U.S. and the highest renewable portfolio in America."

Mostly True 

According to the Department of Energy, Maine is number one in the percentage of energy production from renewable sources, but it is tied in first place with four states: Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho and Rhode Island, as well as Washington D.C.

Source: http://energy.gov/maps/renewable-energy-production-state

"There's roughly 6,000 people making minimum wage. The overwhelming majority are high school kids working in restaurants."

False

Glenn Mills, chief economist at the Center for Workforce Research, said in 2014 the center estimated there were 17,000 people making minimum wage or less in the state. Of those, based on national statistics from the bureau of labor, the center estimates 8,200 in the group are between the ages of 16 to 24 (not an overwhelming majority), and 8,800 are age 25 or older.

Nationally, the Pew Research Center reports 48.2 percent of the 3 million hourly workers who earned at or below the federal minimum in 2014 were ages 16 to 24; 22.4 percent were ages 25 to 34, and that both shares have stayed constant, more or less, over the past decade.

Source: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/23/5-facts-about-the-minimum-wage/

"When I became governor, 80 percent of homes were heating with oil. We brought that down to 60 percent."

Not really, hard to verify

LePage was elected in 2010 and took office in January 2011. The Governor's Energy Office reported 70 percent of Maine households used oil for heat in 2011, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported 64.2 percent of all Maine homes heating with oil in 2013, the latest year figures are available. This includes buildings containing multiple residences so the percentage of households would be higher. Efficiency Maine's 2015 Maine Single-Family Residential Baseline Study, based on a survey of 164 homes, reports 72 percent of single-family homes heat with oil.

Sources: http://www.maine.gov/energy/pdf/oilreductionreportfinal4_13.pdf, http://www.eia.gov/state/data.cfm?sid=ME#ConsumptionExpenditures, http://www.efficiencymaine.com/docs/2015-Maine-Residential-Baseline-Study-Report-NMR.pdf

"We lose on average $12 million of hard assets every year over the last 25 years, because people who turn 65 will go spend six months and a day a year in one of those states [with no income taxes]."

Mostly True

Tax Foundation has an online tool to view migration patterns into and out of each state for the years between 1993 and 2010, almost 25 years.

Looking at migrations between Maine and Florida in that time period, 34,000 people who file taxes moved out of Maine to Florida, which does not have an income tax (as well as 59,000 who were exempt), taking $907 million in adjusted gross income out of the state. Divide that by 22 years, that is about $41 million per year. We could not verify the value in hard assets these people took with them.

This trend is not true for all tax-free states. From New Hampshire, between 1993 and 2010, Maine saw a net in-migration of 1,361 people who file tax returns, bringing adjusted gross incomes totaling more than $164 million into the state.

Overall more people and money have migrated into the state of Maine than out of it. Between 1993 and 2010, Maine saw a net gain of 28,179 people and a net increase of $1.8 billion in adjusted gross income.

Source: http://interactive.taxfoundation.org/migration/

"The sad part is 70 percent of asylum seekers are sent back home. Only 30 percent are allowed asylum status."

Mostly True

The percentage of asylum applicants who are admitted is actually less, but whether all those that are "withdrawn," "abandoned" or "other" are sent home is uncertain.

Year Received Granted Denied Withdrawn, Abandoned, Other % Denied % Granted
2010 32830 8519 8336 15449 25% 25%
2011 42810 10137 9280 11859 22% 24%5
2012 45555 10715 8503 14674 19% 24%
2013 39929 9945 8826 19258 22% 25%
2014 41920 8775 9222 18617 22% 21%

Source: Justice Department

http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/eoir/pages/attachments/2015/03/16/fy2010-fy2014-asylum-statistics-by-nationality.pdf

LePage's 70-30 ratio may have come from a claim in an article featured on the "Atlas Shrugs" blog of conservative activist and self-described “racist-Islamophobic-anti-Muslim-bigot” Pamela Geller, which comes first in a google search for "70 percent asylum applications denied in U.S." The article refers to a Homeland Security report discussed during a hearing on asylum fraud in 2009. But the investigation summarized in the report only covered 235 asylum applications in 2009, and found the fraud rate to be 12 percent.

The report found "12 percent of cases, 29 out of 239, were found to have proven fraud and an additional 58 percent, 138 cases, had indicators of possible fraud, for a total 70 percent rate of proven or possible fraud." It also stated that while the fraud rate was 12 percent for the sample studied, the true fraud rate was unknown.

Some of these fraud indicators that contributed to the 70 percent figure were tenuous. If an immigration service provider working on the application was under investigation for fraud, that application was counted as possibly fraudulent.

Source: http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/amnesty_2014_debate/Asylum_Fraud_DraftReport.pdf

"We have four workforce investment boards in the state of Maine. The state of Texas has one. Ten million it costs us to operate those four. We should only have one and it should cost 1 million."

False

Texas has one state workforce development board and 28 local workforce development boards. Maine has one state workforce development board and four local workforce development boards.

Source: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/files/partners/workforce-board-directory-twc.pdf

"I was mayor of Waterville for eight years. I was able to lower taxes by 21 percent without touching services."

Not Really

LePage was mayor of Waterville from 2004-2011. According to Waterville Assessor Paul Castonguay, the mil rate in 2004 was 27.40. It was lowered each year until 2009 to 24.15 where it remained until 2011. This is a decrease of 12 percent.