The Maine Secretary of State’s Office released on Monday the language of a November ballot initiative that would raise taxes on wealthier Mainers to pay for home care for the elderly and disabled.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in a press release said that the final wording of the question on an act that would establish universal home care for seniors and persons with disabilities was based on feedback from the public, who had until June 15 to offer comments.

Dunlap said the initiative proposed by the Maine People’s Alliance will read as follows: “Do you want to create the Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income, funded by a new 3.8 percent tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018?”

An opposition group announced Monday that it will launch a campaign urging Maine voters to vote against the 3.8 percent income surtax, which will appear as Question 1 on the statewide ballot Nov. 6.

NO on Question 1 said it will officially kick off its campaign against the initiative during a news conference beginning at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the VNA Home Health Hospice, 50 Foden Road in South Portland.

The opposition coalition said in a release that home care, health care, business leaders, advocates and representatives “who oppose the 3.8 percent surtax to fund a new government program to provide home care for seniors and people with disabilities” will attend.

During a news conference at the State House in Augusta in May, opponents of Question 1 argued that the referendum question violates the Maine Constitution and federal privacy laws.

Former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Daniel Wathen called the referendum “deeply unconstitutional in many respects.”

And Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said, “It over-promises and under-delivers, while at the same time creating chaos to our economy by pushing a tax rate for many to nearly 11 percent.”

The Maine People’s Alliance says the referendum would only apply to the wealthiest 1.6 percent of Mainers and argues that the issue of affordable home-based care is important because of Maine’s aging population.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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