MHA Statement: Tax & Home Care Referendum

The Maine Hospital Association Board of Directors voted to oppose the Tax and Home Care Referendum.
 
Question 1 on the ballot would require Maine to increase income taxes to fund a new state home care program.

There are several reasons why the MHA opposes this referendum.

  • First, the tax increase proposed would give Maine the highest tax rate in the country for household income between $128,400 and $1 Million.
  • Second, this policy proposal did not receive a public hearing and has never had a public hearing before the Maine Legislature.Any legislation that would create a brand-new state program that is larger than the entire state appropriation for the University System of Maine should first be vetted by the Maine Legislature.
  • Third, the proposal has two significant constitutional problems regarding the delegation of government authority and the first amendment free speech protections.
  • Fourth, the proposal appears to violate federal labor and health privacy laws.
  • Fifth, the structure of the proposed oversight Board may violate the State Administrative Procedures Act.
  • Sixth, the bill would provide taxpayer-funded home care benefits to millionaires; before extending benefits to those without financial need, the State must make sure it has adequately funded the existing Medicaid programs for the elderly and those with disabilities.
  • Finally, the referendum process should not be misused.It is meant to be used sparingly.For the Maine Hospital Association, referendums should be reserved for ideas that have been presented to the Legislature; ideas that have broad, bi-partisan legislative support, and ideas that have clear public support as well.None of those conditions are present for the proposed tax and home care referendum.
For the above reasons, the Maine Hospital Association Board of Directors voted to oppose Question 1 and we urge voters to Vote No in November.