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Supporters Officially Kick Off Campaign For Universal Home Care Initiative

Patty Wight
Maine Public
Home health care initiative campaign manager Ben Chin speaks at the campaign's kick-off Tuesday in Portland.

The campaign to bring universal home care to Maine officially launched Tuesday.Campaign manager Ben Chin, also the deputy director of the progressive advocacy organization Maine People's Alliance, says thousands of families find it impossible to bear the cost of keeping loved ones in their homes. 

"At the same time, our state's fastest growing career pays poverty wages, and two-thirds of home care workers quit every year because they can't take care of their families," Chin said at a kick-off event in Portland.

Rachel Phipps, of Kennebunk, said she supports ballot Question 1 because she has to leave her elderly mother home alone during the day. "And that is a constant level of worry and distraction that I live with at work every day."

Leighann Gillis said she’s been a home care aide for six years and earns just over the minimum wage. 

"If we want an economy that works, if we want jobs for young people in this state, if we care about seniors and people with disabilities being forced from their homes when they don't have to be, then we need to pass Question 1 this November," Gillis said.

If passed, Question 1 would provide seniors and adults with disabilities in-home support by levying a 3.8 percent tax on incomes above $128,400. 

Whether the tax would apply to individuals or families who earn more than that threshold is in dispute, and opponents say supporters are trying to mislead voters.

Originally published Sept. 4, 2018 at 12:08 p.m. ET.