A ballot measure in Maine is starting to ramp up with rhetoric from both sides of the argument. This measure, though, would directly affect the in-home care industry throughout the state and impose a 3.8% tax increase on the highest earners, those reporting more than $128,400 per year.
Proponents of the ballot measure claim that the highest earners in the state pay the lowest tax rates, though that is not supported by evidence. They claim that high paid lobbyists protect the interests of those who have the most and it’s those men and women who should be paying more to support elderly and disabled Mainers who require care at home.
Opponents, however, point to the loosely worded ballot measure as a clear sign that it’s unclear precisely how this system would work and that, ultimately, it’s another union effort to create a privatized ‘shadow government’ agency focused on unionizing home care workers, whether they want to be or not.
According to the Press Herald, in its news blog, Advocates of in-home care referendum call it fairness; critics call it a scam, written by J. Craig Anderson:
“Maine voters in November will vote on Question 1, which would impose an additional 3.8 percent tax on income above $128,400 to expand services such as home health care aides, home repair, hospice care and transportation. The tax on wage income would be split evenly between employer and employee, while other income such as capital gains and rental income also would be taxed at 3.8 percent.
The tax would generate an estimated $310 million annually that would be used to subsidize in-home care for qualifying Mainers of any age or income level, including wealthy residents. A nine-member board called the Universal Home Care Trust Fund Board would decide how to administer the funds.”
The ballot initiative has been supported by billionaire George Soros who has funded a number of liberal progressive policies for many years. If passed, according to opponents, every private home care worker throughout the state -even those taking care of family, but being reimbursed for their effort through Medicaid- would immediately and automatically be considered a ‘state employee.’
The board that would be appointed to run this new system, if the measure passes, would initially be appointed by the governor, speaker of the House, and president of the Senate. Future board members would then be elected by providers and recipients of home care through special elections every three years.