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Governor’s Address: Question 1 on November’s Ballot is Bad Policy

There are so many bad policies rolled into Question 1 on November’s ballot that it’s hard to know where to begin. I’m going to highlight what I consider to be the most dangerous.

Question 1 attempts to create a “Universal Home Care Program” that purports to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens.

In reality, it creates a new 3.8 percent tax on individuals and families. It will create a new, massive bureaucracy with no state oversight, and it will put people on wait lists. It will also violate patient confidentiality, and will it hurt our economy.

This new tax will drive high-income earners out of the state. But don’t be fooled. It won’t just affect the wealthy. Hard-working couples will be hit too.

Maine will be the highest-taxed state for households with combined incomes over $130,000. It will also tax other income, like rent, interest, and capital gains.

The Office of Tax Policy estimates that 58,355 Maine families will, on average, have a 30-percent tax increase in 2019 if Question 1 passes. Approximately 3,650 of those families include a school teacher.

Here are a few examples of how it will affect real taxpayers:

A teacher who makes $66,000 and a police officer who makes $95,000, including overtime. When they file their state taxes, their combined income of $161,000 will make them subject to the 3.8 percent tax. They will pay an extra $1,150.

Another example is a couple who work as a sales manager, making $125,000, and restaurant server, making $30,000. Their combined income of $155,000 will make them subject to the 3.8 percent tax. They’ll pay an extra $925.

A self-employed person running a small business with income of $140,000 will also get hit. The amount above $130,800 would be taxed at 3.8 percent. The self-employed person will pay an extra $350.

Question 1 isn’t just taxing the wealthy. It will hit hardworking Maine families.

The State Economist projects that Question 1 would cause Maine to miss out on up to 3,800 jobs and, by 2023, see a loss of $1.4 to $2 billion of Mainer’s total personal income.

We have worked hard to bring prosperity to Mainers, and now, when wages are rising, Question 1 will send us backward. But Question 1’s bad policy isn’t limited to taxes and our economy.

Question 1 will require the state to turn over the names and contact information of our seniors over 65 and any person with a disability who may receive in-home care to any union and any person who wants to run for the oversight board.

The goal of this colossal violation of privacy is to badger the person’s caregivers – their friends and family members – into joining a union and paying dues.

A union won’t improve the working conditions of a mother who cares for her adult child with autism in their own home. It’s their home! And she should NOT have to pay union dues for the privilege of caring for her own child.

Our seniors and people with disabilities deserve privacy, not exploitation.

Question 1’s supporters are pushing a dangerous political agenda using vulnerable people who are dependent on the care of family and friends. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Thank you.

Paul LePage

Governor

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