Home Health Care Initiative Opponents: Supporters Misrepresenting Who Would Pay Surtax

Aug 22, 2018

Opponents of a ballot question that would create a universal home care program in Maine are asking the initiative's supporters to sign a pledge for fair campaign practices.

Attorney Newell Augur is the chair of the No On Question One Coalition. He says the Maine People's Alliance is misrepresenting who would be taxed to fund universal home care for elderly and disabled adults.  

"The proponents have tried to make it out that it's just a tax on individuals over $128,400," says Augur.

Opponents say the proposal would actually tax households that earn income above that level, which means some couples would also be subject to the surtax.

Mike Tipping of the Maine People's Alliance says that interpretation is wrong. 

The question voters will face on the November ballot reads:  "Do you want to create the Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income, funded by a new 3.8% tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018?"

Augur also said that the Maine People's Alliance is misrepresenting how the home care program would be governed by a new board.

"$310 million dollars a year in new taxes that this board, who is unelected by the people, or the taxpayers, of the state of Maine, and they're going to have unlimited discretion in how they're going to spend it," Augur said.

Tipping says the board would operate like many others in the state, and that opponents are trying to distract attention away from the need for accessible home care for elderly and disabled adults.  

Tipping says his organization did sign the fair campaign practice pledge.