This upcoming November election has a lot at stake across the country, and in Maine a citizen’s initiative is up for vote as well. This would, essentially, help set up a new social service and taxation program with the intention of providing services to elderly and disabled citizens of the state who require assistance at home.
Question 1 on the ballot is focused on establishing a program to provide “living wages” to the home care workers and other individuals who support these men and women at home. This ballot initiative has created significant division among the residents, with proponents saying that home care aides and other providers have been traditionally and significantly underpaid for the work they’ve done.
As noted by Seacoastonline.com, in the blog, Maine question on home health care tax creates divide, written by Deborah McDermott:
“At the same time, say proponents, the state’s elderly population [of] is increasing dramatically, to 28 percent of the total population by 2030 — higher than any other state. A Muskie School of Public Service analysis estimates 27,000 Mainers who do not currently get services would be eligible for them under the proposal. Question 1 has no income qualifiers, so people up and down the economic spectrum would be able to receive services.”
However, opponents of the measure are questioning where the funding will come from and are essentially saying this is just one more tax on the citizens of this state, especially those earning over $128,400.
But the funding mechanism as well as other stipulations in the proposal’s language have created a lot of questions and mounting opposition to the measure. Funds would come, according to the language in question itself, from “a new 3.8 percent tax on individuals and families with main wages and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes.” In 2018, that amount is $128,400.”
All four individuals running for governor of Maine also oppose Question 1. There are locally six candidates running for the Maine House and Senate who also oppose the measure. It’s both Democrats and Republicans who are opposing this ballot initiative.
According to these opponents, it is nothing but platitudes that levy another tax on those residents who are already taxed far more than the rest of the population, on average. Whether it would actually provide increased funding and support for home care aides and the other caregivers who provide an opportunity for the elderly and disabled to remain at home is a question that has yet to be answered.