Citizens' Initiative

MPA’s Question 1 talking points now refuted by one of their own

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The Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) is pushing a ballot initiative – Question 1 – that seeks to establish a 3.8 percent tax on wages and incomes exceeding $128,400 to fund the Universal Home Care program. The program would provide in-home and community support services to elderly and disabled Mainers, regardless of income, who need assistance with at least one activity of daily living.

Since the beginning of their campaign, the MPA has been deceitful. The first lie they found themselves in concerned how much revenue would be generated under the taxes established within Question 1. Despite a fiscal note that shows Question 1 is expected to raise $310 million in new tax revenues, the MPA continuously cited a $132 million figure in the media.

Unfortunately, Maine’s lazy news media never thought to check with the Office of Fiscal and Program Review, which created the fiscal note nearly a year ago, and printed these false claims several times in 2018. Just the perks of supporting liberal interests in Maine, I suppose.

The next lie cited in the media related to how the taxes imposed under Question 1 would apply to Maine tax filers. The MPA insisted that their initiative would only impact individuals, not households with incomes exceeding the $128,400.

We learned from a technical analysis issued by Maine Revenue Services that joint filers with household incomes exceeding the threshold would be subject to the taxes imposed under Question 1, a point that the MPA still contests to this day. Despite the finding originating from a nonpartisan public office filled with individuals our state has deemed fit to administer tax policy, the MPA still denies that joint filers would be impacted under the current language of the initiative.

A third lie the MPA has told is that their campaign is “buoyed” by small dollar donations from about 3,500 Mainers who have contributed $86,000 to the campaign. This may be true (though there’s no way of telling based on reporting rules), but it’s not the whole truth. The first $375,000 the MPA received after launching their campaign came from liberal special interests in Washington DC.

The MPAs campaign is not “buoyed” by small dollar donations; the campaign’s financing is dominated by outside interests, including unions and organizations with links to liberal mega donors like George Soros.

But the best lie of them all – perhaps the most egregious and oft-repeated lie – has now been refuted by their buddies at the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP).

The MPA has claimed, over and over again, that the taxes imposed under Question 1 would only impact 1.6 percent of Maine earners.

They’ve repeated this lie here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

I’m sure there’s more, but you get the picture.

Rather comically, many of the other falsehoods outlined above can be found in these examples as well.

In an analysis released last Friday, MECEP found that the Universal Home Care initiative will impact 3.36 percent of all Mainers with income. What’s important to note is that MECEP’s analysis examines individual income; their analysis does not echo the state’s “marriage penalty” findings and assumes the tax would only be levied against individual earners.

The point, nonetheless, is that this 3.36 figure is more than double what the MPA has been claiming for the better part of a year. Much like the $132 million price tag that turned out to be less than half of what independent estimates found, the number of impacted Mainers is twice what the MPA has repeatedly claimed.

This state, with its lax rules and requirements surrounding the ballot initiative process, allows shysters like the MPA to sell lies to the Maine people for a whole year, muddying the press with falsehoods to sell their ballot initiatives to the public.

And then Maine’s lazy liberal media gobbles it up and prints it without question, and before you know it, the false claim has been printed and reprinted a dozen times or more in papers throughout the state.

We simply cannot allow this exploitation of the Maine people to continue. Something must be done to stop the madness at our ballot box.

About Jacob Posik

Jacob Posik, of Turner, is a policy analyst for the Maine Heritage Policy Center. He can be reached at jposik@mainepolicy.org.

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