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Governor’s Address: Question 1 is a Shell Game

Question 1 plays on voters’ emotions to pass policies that will hurt the very people it’s supposed to help.

There are five questions on the ballot next week. I support Questions 2 through 5. These are bond questions that will make much-needed improvements in our transportation infrastructure, keep our water clean, and make strategic investments in our universities and community colleges to better train our workers and keep our young people in Maine.

Question 1 is another story all together.

We have seen these over-simplified referendum questions before. They are backed by out-of-state interests, and they sound great on paper. But the devil is in the details.

Of course we want to take care of our seniors and people with disabilities and keep them in their homes. But the progressives backing this referendum are not being up front with the Maine people.

Question 1 is an extremely complex piece of legislation that will make Maine the highest-taxed state for all households whose combined income totals more than $128,400.

Hard-working, middle-class families will foot this bill. But there’s more to it than just a tax.

Question 1 does nothing to alleviate the waitlists for our elderly and people with disabilities. People living in nursing homes or group homes will be ineligible for assistance from this program.

Question 1 will create a massive bureaucracy with no state oversight. Neither the Governor nor the Legislature will have the ability to remove its board for malfeasance.

It will turn over the names and contact information of people with disabilities and our seniors over 65. This is a massive violation of personal and medical confidentiality.

The State Economist projects that Question 1 would have significant negative economic effects. Our state will lose jobs and people.

Passing Question 1 will not only drive high earners out of the state, but couples who both work are at risk of having their income tax skyrocket.

Question 1 has no restrictions on income to qualify and no residency requirement. It violates the confidentiality of our most vulnerable. It would put seniors and people with disabilities on even more waitlists.

If Question 1 passes, a wealthy summer resident like Martha Stewart could qualify for this program while your elderly, ill neighbor on a fixed income sits on a waitlist – and you are suddenly paying the highest income tax in the nation.

If the progressive backers of Question 1 really wanted to help, they could have proposed to use a smaller tax to shore up our existing programs. But that isn’t what these progressives really want to do.

Quite simply, Question 1 is a scheme to tax Mainers and send it to unions so the unions can then use that money to pay for political campaigns to elect even more progressives.

It’s a shell game, and they are using your money and our most vulnerable as the bullseye.

Thank you.

Paul LePage


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