Governor Paul LePage (R) told a conservative women’s group that nearly half of Mainers don’t work.
In a meeting last week in Falmouth, Maine, the controversial Republican governor bemoaned how “About 47 percent of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work. About 47 percent. It’s really bad.” Watch it:
It’s also false. With statistics provided from Maine’s own labor department, the Bangor Daily News points out that 65 percent of able-bodied Mainers are working or actively seeking work. The 35 percent remaining is composed largely of retirees, homemakers, students, and the disabled. The blue collar state is not divided between givers and takers, as the governor seems to suggest.
LePage’s comment about the work ethic of Mainers echoes Mitt Romney’s now-infamous private comment to wealthy Republican donors that rocked his presidential campaign. The governor’s basic misunderstanding of Maine’s workforce also makes his continued efforts to cut state welfare programs while protecting tax cuts for the wealthy more alarming.
This post has been updated to more accurately reflect LePage’s comments.
Christopher Butterfield is an intern for ThinkProgress.