The $310 million income tax referendum scam that over promises and under delivers in Maine

This is Question 1 as it will appear on your ballot on Election Day, November 6, 2018

"Question 1: Citizen Initiative

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?"

Question One makes a promise it can't keep. This referendum promises a benefit to our seniors, who, if it passed, could reasonably expect to have the program there for them when they or their spouses get sick and need in-home care. Yet, when these vulnerable people need that program, they will be put on a wait list.

Also known as, ''An Act To Establish Universal Home Care for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities,'' Question One is a referendum that will be put to the voters in November of 2018.

This referendum claims to pay for "in-home and community support services to individuals and families" for individuals with no means test to qualify. In reality, it would create yet another wait list for services for our elderly and our people with disabilities. 

This referendum should be called "UNIVERSAL WAIT LISTS"

  • In at least nine different places, this bill authorizes eligibility criteria, wait lists and the curtailing of services. Universal is not universal.

  • People in nursing homes do not qualify.

  • There is no length of residency requirement in order to be eligible to receive services.

  • It will create yet another quasi-governmental board with zero oversight and no ability to remove board members for poor performance or corruption.

  • It will impose a 3.8% payroll tax on all workers who earn $128,400; 1.9% paid by the worker and 1.9%paid by the employer. Self-employed or pass­through entities would pay the total 3.8%. Just like the 3% tax surcharge on the 2016 ballot, this will drive high-earning professionals out of Maine.

  • The bill lists items other than care that the funds can pay for, including transportation, home repairs and rent. It can pay for training for workers instead of care.

  • Because there is no means test, individuals with significant assets are eligible for payments and may be served ahead of people who have little-to-no savings and are subsisting on a fixed income.

  • There is no estimated cost to setting up this system or for staffing it, yet the administration is limited to 5 percent of funds collected. There is no way to determine whether that will be sufficient.

  • Sets up a new bureaucracy to determine eligibility, process claims and audit payments to prevent fraud. This program will need its own offices where people can enroll because it is separate from DHHS.

  • It requires any individual care provider, meaning, for example, a parent or spouse who is being paid to care for a child or partner with a disability, to be considered a state employee for collective­ bargaining purposes. These people need every penny and should not be harassed to join a union while working in their own home caring for a loved one.

  • It will force DHHS to disclose the names, addresses and email addresses of all people who are eligible to receive in-home care support to the board and to "constituency associations."This data will be used to run elections of the board members, with no outside agency ensuring sensitive data is handled properly or, if it's not, to ensure violators have consequences.

  • The board will be able to write and adopt its own rules without any legislative or executive branch oversight.

This bill is not about caring for our seniors. It's about selling a scheme to our seniors and people with disabilities, funneling money to union bosses and driving highly paid professionals, like doctors and engineers, out of Maine.