All Maine Candidates for Governor Agree Question One Is a Bad Idea for Maine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Jen Webber

Monday, August 27, 2018 Cell: 207-939-0213

All Maine Candidates for Governor Agree Question One Is a Bad Idea for Maine

United opposition to Question One underscores how devastating new tax would be for Maine families and economy

AUGUSTA, MAINE -- "That all four candidates for governor agree Question One is the wrong solution for Maine speaks volumes,” said Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine representative Newell Augur, who chairs NO on Question One/Stop the Scam. “Their united opposition underscores how devastating this new tax would be for Maine families and our state’s economy. We are confident their unanimous opposition will help defeat Question One decisively in November.”

Question One, which will appear on the statewide ballot in November, 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?”

Maine’s State Economist and the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services recently issued an economic impact report on the proposed 3.8% tax that would be imposed on gross wage and non-wage combined household and family income over $128,400. That report indicated that, “If adopted, the proposal would adversely affect several significant economic and demographic measures.” It predicted that Maine’s population, labor force and employment would drop markedly, and that personal income and state GDP losses would be significant.

For more information, please go to www.StopTheScamMaine.com.

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STOP THE SCAM SAYS, “STOP THE LIES,” TO PROPONENTS OF 3.8% TAX ON FAMILIES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Media contact: Jen Webber
Cell: 207-939-0213

Stop the Scam calls on the Maine People’s Alliance to sign a pledge
to tell the truth and stop misleading Maine people

 Newell Augur

Newell Augur

PORTLAND, MAINE – Representatives from the NO on Question One/Stop the Scam campaign called on proponents of the new 3.8% tax on families on the statewide ballot in November to stop the lies and sign a pledge to tell the truth. Since the measure proposing the new tax was drafted by the Maine People’s Alliance, their spokespeople have been misleading Maine people about the new tax and its implications on Maine families and economy.

Last week, Maine’s State Economist and the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services issued an economic impact report on the proposed 3.8% tax that would be imposed on gross wage and non-wage combined household and family income over $128,400. That report indicated that, “If adopted, the proposal would adversely affect several significant economic and demographic measures.” It predicted that Maine’s population, labor force and employment would drop markedly, and that personal income and state GDP losses would be significant. 

In response to the report, the Maine People’s Alliance continued to mislead Maine people by denying the new tax’s impact, particularly that it applies to household income. Maine’s Secretary of State determined the new tax does apply to families and included that in the language of the referendum question here:

“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?”

“We are calling on the Maine People’s Alliance to sign a pledge to stop the lies and stop misleading Maine people,” said Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine representative Newell Augur, who chairs NO on Question One/Stop the Scam. “The number of families and businesses who will see their taxes increase is far more than what the Maine People’s Alliance purports, and their attempts to minimize the impact this bill will have on Maine families and our economy are disingenuous.” 

The measure also requires that the private health information of elder and disabled Mainers be distributed to an unlimited number of ‘constituency organizations,’ (please see section 7290 (2) on page 9 of LD 1864). Proponents falsely claim that there is an opt out provision in their proposal. In fact, the provision only gets elder and disabled adults off a mailing list, (please see section 7284 (5) on page 6 of LD 1864). It does not give them the authority to prevent the transfer of their private health information from taking place.  

They also wrongly deny the bill would require all caregivers, even those taking care of a family member, to join the Maine state employees’ union, (please see section 7291 on page 9 of LD 1864).

“Either these people never read the bill they are pushing down the throat of Maine’s economy and its people, or they are deliberately misleading us all,” said Augur. “They are on notice to tell the truth and be accountable to the facts.”

For more information on the 3.8% tax scam, please go to www.StopTheScamMaine.com. 

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Homecare referendum bad for Maine

August 9, 2017
Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor

Homecare referendum bad for Maine

The Maine People’s Alliance doesn’t really represent Maine people. Their latest scam the “free” home care referendum is simply more socialism at its best. And that’s not even taking into account the cronyism. Portions of the referendum are also unconstitutional. Why doesn’t this group appreciate and understand that Mainers don’t need its garbage ideas.

To make matters worse, passing Question 1 as the Maine People’s Alliance wrote it would create another cash-guzzling state agency. A new board that would be elected by secret ballot by — if you can believe this — the people who receive benefits or payments from the very board that defines and controls those same benefits and payments. Pure old-fashioned cronyism.

They also clearly do not care about the privacy of individuals. Question 1 would allow “constituency associations” — groups that want to advocate before the board — to have access to names and contact information for individuals receiving care to ask them to join the associations.

Question 1 is bad for Mainers. There must be a better way to help our seniors who struggle with caring for themselves without putting everyone else at risk. I will be voting no on Question 1.

Dave Gulya
Blue Hill

Source

Advocates of in-home care referendum call it fairness; critics call it a scam

Opponents says the ballot measure is more concerned with pushing pro-labor policies than expanding access to care for the elderly and disabled.

Portland Press Herald

BY J. CRAIG ANDERSON, STAFF WRITER

Opponents of a ballot initiative that would raise taxes on wealthier Mainers to subsidize in-home care for the elderly and disabled have stepped up their rhetoric, calling the measure a scam and accusing its promoters of deceptive practices.

The group pushing the measure said such tactics only prove how desperate opponents are to prevent Mainers from creating a more democratic mechanism for funding home care that is free from the influence of lobbyists.

The opposition group, led by representatives of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Maine Hospital Association and Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine, have adopted the slogan “Stop the Scam” for their campaign. They describe the ballot measure, known as Question 1, as a sort of Trojan horse that appears on the surface to be about paying for home care when its true objective is to push left-wing labor policies onto the state’s home care industry.

‘PRIVATIZED SHADOW GOVERNMENT’

“This referendum is a scam. It’s a tax scam, an elder scam and a big government scam,” the opposition group said in a statement to the Portland Press Herald. “It creates a privatized shadow government whose true purpose is to impose labor regulations on home care agencies.

Opponents noted that the ballot measure has received financial support from nonprofits linked to billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a prominent progressive who has contributed billions to liberal causes.

ut Ben Chin, manager of the Question 1 campaign, Home Care for All, described opponents’ rhetoric as “outrageous and irresponsible.” He said the opponents represent some of the wealthiest interests in the state and are trying to invent reasons why people should vote against the measure because it would raise taxes on wealthy people.

“Right now the top 1 percent in Maine pay a lower state and local effective tax rate than anybody else,” said Chin, deputy director of liberal policy group the Maine People’s Alliance. “The very well-paid lobbyists that are all making six-figure salaries know that the only way that we are going to fix this problem … is if we start making the wealthy pay at least as much in taxes as everybody else is in the state.”

Maine voters in November will vote on Question 1, which would impose an additional 3.8 percent tax on income above $128,400 to expand services such as home health care aides, home repair, hospice care and transportation. The tax on wage income would be split evenly between employer and employee, while other income such as capital gains and rental income also would be taxed at 3.8 percent.

The tax would generate an estimated $310 million annually that would be used to subsidize in-home care for qualifying Mainers of any age or income level, including wealthy residents. A nine-member board called the Universal Home Care Trust Fund Board would decide how to administer the funds.

The initial board members would be appointed by the governor, speaker of the House and president of the Senate (three members each), with subsequent board members elected by providers and recipients of home care in elections to be held every three years.

Both supporters and opponents of the measure are ramping up their campaigns and seeking volunteers and donations, according to their websites, mainersforhomecare.org and stopthescammaine.com.

BALLOT BOX VS. LEGISLATURE

The “Act To Establish Universal Home Care for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities,” created and promoted by the Maine People’s Alliance, is the latest example of progressive groups using Maine’s citizen initiative process to attempt to achieve policy victories at the ballot box rather than through the Legislature.

Two years ago, a different Maine People’s Alliance ballot measure sought to impose a 3 percent surcharge on high earners to subsidize education.

The referendum passed, but was eliminated by the Legislature, which instead increased state spending on schools.

Newell Augur, chairman of the NO on Question 1/Stop the Scam campaign and a lobbyist for the nonprofit Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine, said the home care referendum is light on details about how the board would operate, but that it goes into great detail about labor issues that have nothing to do with the measure’s stated purpose of funding home care.

For example, under the referendum any independent home care worker in Maine would automatically be considered a state employee for the purposes of collective bargaining, he said.

“The day this passes, you’re a state worker,” Newell said.

CRITICS CITE PRO-UNION AGENDA

Ben Gilman, campaign manager for NO on Question 1 and a lobbyist for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said the referendum can’t legally force home care workers to join a union, but he said some of the language in the measure is clearly meant to encourage it.

“The independent home care workforce is growing,” Gilman said. “They want to unionize them … to do it by fiat in a state law.”

Chin said there is nothing in the measure about making home care workers join a union. He said the referendum does contain language that is designed to improve working conditions and compensation for home care workers, who are notoriously overworked and underpaid.

“A lot of these folks right now have no bargaining power,” he said.

ADVOCATES SAY IT’S ABOUT FAIRNESS

Chin said Maine advocates for better access to in-home care have waited years for the Legislature to solve the problem, with very little progress to show for it. Meanwhile, Maine’s wealthiest residents have received three major income tax reductions over the past six years, he said.

“They (Question 1 opponents) are frustrated because we’re really calling into question that there are absolutely resources in the state to pay for this stuff, but it really does involve making sure the wealthy pay as much in taxes as everybody else,” Chin said. “So I’d say that’s the real source of their frustration and why they’re using such hyperbolic language.”

In May, Question 1 opponents warned that some components of the ballot measure would likely violate the Maine State Constitution and federal health-information privacy law, but advocates argued that other existing state programs follow rules similar to the ones being proposed.

The opponents also have said that raising taxes on higher-income Mainers would backfire by discouraging high-income professionals and companies from coming to the state, which would only exacerbate Maine’s economic woes.

Jeffrey Austin, vice president of government affairs and communications for the Maine Hospital Association, said Maine has faced an onslaught of poorly conceived ballot initiatives in recent years, and that lawmakers face intense backlash whenever they attempt to correct their flaws.

The Question 1 opponents said the referendum is so convoluted and legally questionable that it would have been defeated easily had it been a bill submitted to the Legislature.

“We would kill this in the Legislature without batting an eye,” Austin said.

SOURCE

A Union Scam Could Be About to End

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Opinion | Commentary

Home health workers get ‘organized’ without their knowledge or consent. Janus makes that harder.

By Red Jahncke

July 16, 2018 6:02 p.m. ET

One of the worst public-sector union scams is about to end. “Partial public employee” unions represent in-home health aides, paid by states with Medicaid money to care for disabled beneficiaries—often the aides’ own children or elderly parents.

In recent decades, PPEs have typically come into existence when Democratic governors order union-certification elections with loose rules, usually including a participation rate of only 10%. Many workers are unaware that they have become union members. They remain ignorant, as the state deducts union dues and fees before sending payments. Such payments are usually made through direct deposit and often without an itemized pay stub.

The unions have no incentive to inform the workers—who in turn have no idea they need to contact the union to opt out. Thus money keeps flowing to these unions even though the Supreme Court, in Harris v. Quinn (2014), imposed on PPE unions a ban on forced nonmember “agency fees.” This year, in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the court extended that rule to all public-sector unions.

Janus struck a second blow by requiring affirmative consent before collecting money from public workers. That’s good news for the litigants in the 2014 Harris case, whose claim for damages has been pending under the new title Riffey v Rauner. The day after the high court decided Janus, it sent Riffey to the lower court for reconsideration “in light of Janus.” Riffey seeks to recover $32 million in pre-Harris payments to a single Service Employees International Union local in Illinois. Five days later, PPE workers in Washington state filed a lawsuit, Schumacher v. Inslee, seeking refunds from another SEIU local.

A third blow to PPE unions came July 12. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed to repeal its Obama-era rulemaking that validated and approved the practice of deducting union dues and fees from Medicaid payments to in-home health aides. Soon PPE health-care unions will have to collect dues and fees directly from workers. Not so easy.

If the PPE unions succumb to this triple squeeze play, no one will suffer other than union officials. PPE unions do not provide benefits that real unions deliver. Real union contracts provide job security; PPE contracts don’t. PPE contracts provide explicitly that patients—not the state, with which the union contracts—retain the right to hire and fire at will and to supervise, schedule, train and otherwise manage in-home health aides.

Real union contracts have grievance procedures to enforce workplace rules. Not PPE contracts. PPE contracts exclude from their grievance coverage anything related to the patient’s rights, including hiring, firing and supervision. What else would a grievance relate to?

Critics of the Harris and Janus decisions complain about nonunion workers “free riding” or “getting something for nothing.” That presumes that there is something to “ride.” In the case of PPE unions, the workers who remain members get nothing for something.

Mr. Jahncke is president of the Connecticut-based Townsend Group International LLC.

PROPOSED 3.8% INCOME TAX IS AN ELDER SCAM, AND A TAX, PRIVACY, BIG GOVERNMENT & HEALTH CARE SCAM

Home care providers, health care providers and business leaders say “Stop the Scam” to the 3.8% tax on the statewide ballot in November

SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE – Calling the 3.8% income tax on the statewide ballot in November a scam on every front, Maine home care, health care and business leaders outlined how the measure will harm Maine’s people and economy at the launch of the campaign against passage of Question 1 Tuesday in South Portland.


The tax, disguised as a way to help provide home care for elderly and disabled Mainers, would collect private health information on Maine seniors and the disabled that could be shared by an unaccountable government entity for campaign and election purposes, would create long waiting lists for care, and would hinder economic growth in Maine by over-burdening businesses. The measure also would put up barriers to attracting and retaining the workforce Maine’s economy needs by giving Maine the distinction of having the highest top tax rate of any state in the country.


“The proposed 3.8% tax is an outright scam on every front,” said campaign chairperson Newell Augur. “Maine’s elder adults and disabled citizens, our most vulnerable relatives and neighbors, would risk having their private health information shared with an unaccountable government organization with zero oversight. That information would be used for campaigns and electioneering purposes. Furthermore, Maine employers, especially the small and family-owned businesses who are the backbone of our state’s economy, will be harmed by the largest tax increase in Maine history.”


Opponents of the tax shared initial red flags at a press conference in Augusta in May, at which the proposal was deemed in violation of the Maine and U.S. Constitutions and federal labor and privacy laws by former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Dan Wathen. Additional concerns were raised at that time that the tax applies to all income, including combined household income.

Moreover, this new government program would not be subject to any means test, allowing millionaires and billionaires to benefit from it.

“Maine voters need to know the truth that this measure is nothing short of a scam,” said Augur. “Maine’s businesses and economy will be devastated by this tax, wait lists for home care will be out-of-control because there is no means test for this program, and the privacy of our seniors and disabled will be at risk. The 3.8% tax scam must be defeated.”


For more information on the 3.8% tax scam, please go to www.StopTheScamMaine.com.

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