The Maine Republican Party’s executive director owes thousands of dollars in state income taxes dating back to 2013 but said Wednesday he is making progress on rectifying the situation.
Records on file in the Penobscot County Registry of Deeds show that Jason Savage didn’t file state tax forms or pay state income taxes in 2013 or 2014. Savage was assessed a total of more than $6,400 in state income taxes for those years, but after penalties and interest, his total liability to the state has ballooned to $11,362.
Savage was notified by Maine Revenue Services in August and October of 2017 that, as a result, liens have been placed on his property in Enfield. The debt was first reported Wednesday by the Portland Press Herald.
Savage told the Bangor Daily News that his debt resulted from personal circumstances he doesn’t want aired in public.
“I hope that people understand that sometimes people face tough times in their lives that cause problems like this,” Savage said. “I’m aggressively working toward taking care of it.”
Savage said he has filed tax returns and reached a payment agreement with Maine Revenue Services.
The Maine Republican Party declined to answer questions about Savage from the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday.
The Maine Democratic Party pounced on the situation by circulating a Portland Press Herald column about the debt to reporters Wednesday morning. The Democrats have already been leveling full-bore criticism at Savage for his apparent ties to the anonymous Maine Examiner website. The party filed a complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission alleging unreported campaign finance activity related to the site. The commission is scheduled to meet Feb. 22 to decide whether to investigate the matter.
In a written statement Friday, the GOP said it is in “total compliance” with finance laws and that the website was not created or funded by the Maine Republican Party. The statement did not address whether Savage, whose digital fingerprints were found on material posted on the site, was involved.
Asked about whether he is involved with the Maine Examiner, Savage demurred.
“I have to leave the [Republican] party’s statement as the sole statement on that,” Savage said Wednesday.
Savage said he is unsure whether his income tax situation will affect his job.
“My needing to protect the people I care about is making it very hard for me to have the kind of clarity of judgment about what other people are thinking right now,” he said.
Savage said he has been given information about a number of public servants’ financial struggles over the years but has always considered that information out of bounds.
“I’ve not put it in the public eye because everyone has a private life, and we’ve all had struggles,” he said. “I wouldn’t do this to my worst enemy.”
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