The Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) secured enough petition signatures to force the state’s legislature to take up the topic of increased home health care access to its residents. Part of the measure the MPA seeks is also to increase wages for the men and women who provide this level of care and support to aging and disabled people in their homes.
According to a news article published by Maine Public entitled, Group Turns [i]n Petitions [i]n Bid [t]o Expand Home Care Services [i]n Maine, written by Mal Leary:
“The progressive advocacy group the Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) has a filed petition with the Secretary of State to force consideration of a citizens’ initiative that outlines a major expansion of home-based care for seniors and the individuals with disabilities. The initiative also seeks to increase pay to the providers of those services. The proposal immediately drew criticism from business groups.
The initiative would be funded by a proposed payroll tax on those earning more than $127,000 per year. The MPA says it filed 67,000 signatures with the Secretary of State. Just over 61,000 signatures are needed to force the legislature to consider the proposal.”
As appears standard operating procedure among groups advocating for more social services or an increase in wages, the proposal would target those considered wealthy, or families, households, and businesses earning more than $127,000 per year. According to David Clough, the State Director of the National Federal of Independent Businesses, that’s going to impact jobs and the economy overall.
There was no note in the petition about just how much taxes would need to be raised on this earnings bracket to cover the estimated $130 million more the state would need to provide in home care for every resident who required it, and to raise wages. The MPA didn’t make a formal declaration about what would be considered acceptable with regard to wages for home care workers.
As David Clough noted, “Once the taxpayers get an understanding of what the implications are, what this is all leading to, how expensive it’s going to be, and what the cost is going to be paid in lost jobs, lost businesses and opportunity, they will not support this at the ballot box.”
It’s expected that, should all signatures be verified, the legislature will send the question to the voters. The Secretary of State has 30 days to review the petition. David Clough and others hope there will be adequate time for a public hearing so the residents, the taxpayers, can understand how passage of this legislature will affect the state.
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