Vicki’s View: The Challenge of Question 1

Posted:  Saturday, October 20, 2018 - 9:15am
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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?

Many of you are considering how you will vote on Question 1 on November 6th.  The proposal would place a combined 3.8 percent tax on income over $128,400 and non-wage income over that threshold to fund a universal home care system for Mainers older than 65 and people with disabilities.  To me, this ballot initiative is a good example of something that creates more problems than it solves, and I’m against it for several reasons.

First, I’m not supportive of the way the program will be funded. Whenever possible, our tax system needs to be comprehensive and fair. Second, it appears Question 1 will create a duplicate healthcare system completely reliant on Maine tax dollars without any Federal match. Third, the proposal does nothing to eliminate the waitlist for home and community-based services. There are real questions as to whether Question 1 violates the privacy of Maine people and direct care workers, and whether it will make it more difficult to access current services.

Don’t get me wrong:  I think taking care of our seniors and people with disabilities is vitally important, and I am glad that Question 1 has brought the discussion of Home Care to the table. But we need real solutions that meet the needs of the elderly and disabled, such as addressing the workforce crisis and eliminating waiting lists for home and community based services. This ballot initiative is just not the right approach, and I will be voting no.

Paid for and authorized by Vicki Doudera.