After a yearlong campaign of misinformation waged by the supporters of Question 1, Maine voters on Tuesday rejected Maine’s most controversial ballot measure 63 percent to 37 percent, with 72 percent of precincts reporting according to the New York Times. The initiative, backed by the Maine People’s Alliance, would have increased Maine’s top marginal income tax rate to 10.95 percent to fund a Universal Home Care program for seniors and people with disabilities.
Groups supporting and opposing Question 1 waged a contentious campaign for the better part of a year debating whether the initiative imposed new taxes on individual or family income. The Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Maine Revenue Services, and the Office of Fiscal and Program Review all concluded that Question 1, if enacted, would have affected married earners who file jointly and have Maine adjusted gross incomes exceeding $128,400.
The move by Maine voters avoids the projected negative impacts of Question 1 on Maine’s economy as relayed through a report published by the Maine State Economist in August. The report found that, relative to baseline projections, the enactment of Question 1 would result in cumulative losses to GDP and real personal income of upwards to $1 billion and $2 billion, respectively.
Question 1 was plagued with inefficiencies and logistical concerns that likely made it difficult for Maine voters to support. The initiative had no means testing, residency requirement, and would have jeopardized the private health information of seniors and people with disabilities who received services under the program. It would have also established a Board to administer the program that lacked sufficient oversight from voters or the legislature.
Voters’ overwhelming rebuke of Question 1 comes as a surprise on a night when liberal interests swept in Maine. Maine Democrats have retained control of the House of Representatives while gaining a majority in the Senate and seizing the Blaine House.
Organizers of the Maine People’s Alliance were out on Tuesday soliciting signatures for the next ballot measure that they hope to get approved for the 2019 ballot concerning guaranteed paid sick leave.