By a narrow margin, Mainers approved a measure to tax the state’s highest earners to raise money for education, according to final results announced early Thursday.
With all 589 precincts reporting, the split was 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent – 377,562 votes for Question 2, and 371,445 against – according to the Associated Press, which collected the data in partnership with the Portland Press Herald.
Under Question 2, a 3 percent surcharge will be added for annual household incomes over $200,000, raising an estimated $123.8 million in income tax revenue in 2017.
That revenue will go into a designated fund, which will be used to meet the state’s requirement to provide 55 percent of school funding if the state’s General Fund appropriation falls short. Any money from the fund must be used for “direct support,” such as instructors’ salaries, not for administration.
Under Question 2, the top marginal state income tax rate in Maine will be 10.15 percent, the second-highest in the nation, after California.
“The people of Maine have taken a giant step toward ensuring a strong future for our children – but this is a first step. It’s now up to us, the members of the coalition of supporters of Question 2, to hold our lawmakers accountable for executing the will of the people,” spokeswoman Crystal Canney said.