We have written about this Question 1 ballot initiative in Maine before, and as Election Day approaches, the hot button topic is gaining more and more media attention and traction. However, it appears that more groups are coming out in opposition to the Question 1 ballot measure in the state, which would effectively add a 3.8 percent tax on adjusted gross wage income for households earning more than $128,400 a year.
The goal of this ballot initiative would be to subsidize the cost of in-home care for disabled and elderly residents throughout the state. However, it’s not just income but also capital gains that would be taxed at 3.8 percent.
Now, the Maine Society of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) has released a report stating that taxes for combined family incomes that exceed $128,400 would actually be closer to 11 percent, rather than the stated 3.8 percent.
The report noted, “If passed, the bill would position Maine as a state with the third-highest tax rate in the country behind California and Hawaii and the highest tax rate for its wealthiest residents among all the New England states.”
According to the Press Herald article, Political clash simmers over referendum on home care, written by J. Craig Anderson:
“In addition, it [a report issued recently by the Maine Society of CPAs] said, the deductibility of higher state tax payments for federal income tax reporting would be limited for some taxpayers as a result of a $10,000 cap on state income tax deductions included in the 2017 federal tax reform legislation.
The group agrees with an analysis from Maine Revenue Services and the Office of Fiscal and Program Review that the combined income of married couples filing jointly would be subject to the $128,400 threshold, or roughly 10 percent of filers, although the referendum’s backers have said their intent is to only tax married couples on combined income that exceeds two times that amount.”
Those who support the ballot measure claim that people who need home care and are unable to afford it -most commonly the elderly and disabled- need help. They claim that state lawmakers have done nothing to improve access to home health care services and have failed to adequately address the overarching issue of this problem.
It is certainly clear that a crisis may be around the corner -but not just in Maine- as it pertains to home care services. As more people demand these services and require help at home, with historically stagnant wages and benefits and other financial challenges, it has become increasingly difficult for agencies to maintain proper staffing levels to offer services to all those in need. Combined with the 14 percent cut to Medicaid for these services, enacted over the course of several years to help pay for the Affordable Care Act, state-level legislators have failed to fill in the gap, which is why Question 1 has become such a hot topic not just in Maine, but across the country.