Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) refused to back down in his dispute with author Stephen King, while also doubling down on his call to abolish the state income tax, the Bangor Daily News reported.
“Just make me the villain of your next book and I won’t charge you royalties,” LePage said at an event hosted by Republicans in Bristol.
LePage mentioned that King had asked him to apologize last week for making him part of his argument against the tax in his weekly radio address.
“Remember who introduced the income tax here in Maine,” the Tea Party governor said at the time. “Well, today former Governor Ken Curtis lives in Florida where there is zero income tax. Stephen King and Roxanne Quimby have moved away, as well.”
King responded by ripping LePage in a statement, saying he was “full of the stuff that makes the grass grow green.” Not only did King and his wife pay his state income tax, the author said, but they were happy to do so.
“We see our taxes as a way of paying back the state that has given us so much. State taxes pay for state services,” King stated. “There’s just no way around it. Governor LePage needs to remember there ain’t no free lunch.”
The Portland Press Herald reported that on Wednesday, LePage denied accusing King of not paying taxes. His staffers removed the remark from the transcript of his original remarks.
“I never said Stephen King did not pay income taxes,” LePage insisted. “What I said was, Stephen King’s not in Maine right now. That’s what I said. How the papers report it, I don’t know.”
King released another statement on Thursday accusing LePage of “gilding the lily and playing with semantics,” and calling for an end to the feud.
“He still owes me an apology, but I don’t expect to collect on that IOU,” King said. “I repeat: he’s not man enough to admit he made a mistake (best case scenario) or knowingly misrepresented the facts (worst case). Now let’s let this rest.”