The Maine People’s Alliance has launched a campaign to put a universal home health care initiative before voters in 2018.
“There are far too many Maine families right now that are going broke because they can’t afford to care for their elders,” says Mike Tipping with the Maine People’s Alliance.
Tipping says the citizen’s initiative would establish a program to provide in-home services and support for those with disabilities, and for those over age 65. He says the program would be funded through a 1.9 percent payroll tax on incomes over $127,000.
“The wealthy don’t like to pay more in taxes and I think they will definitely mount an opposition campaign to this,” he says.
Matt Gagnon with the Maine Heritage Policy Center says the proposal will discourage those with higher incomes at a time when the state needs more investment.
“If you’re disincentivizing people who are wealthy to live here, you’re also disincentivizing business — particularly small business — to be here, which does not help the people that are left in the state. So as with I think all of these proposals from them, it’s a very bad idea,” he says.
Initiative supporters say something must be done to fill gaps in Medicare and provide for better home health service, as Maine’s senior population is set to double by 2030.
Supporters must submit more than 61,000 valid signatures by Jan. 2018.