I’m going to vote “no” on universal home care (Question 1) for two reasons.

First: The referendum is presented as an enticing free lunch to the over 90 percent of Maine wage earners who earn less than the Social Security wage limit and who, therefore, will not pay for the program. Charging 3.8 percent tax on income above $128,400 is not “free.” It might be a barrier to jobs moving to Maine. Or even were it a reasonable, progressive funding scheme, it won’t achieve its aim of universal home care.

Second: Nearly 90 percent of Americans who need long-term care receive it from informal, unpaid caregivers, i.e., family and friends. Creating a pool of money to hire caregivers will likely attract more paid caregivers, but it won’t expand the amount of care available. Ask yourself: If Mom can get care for free, why not take the kids away overnight instead of taking care of her?

This proposal will not achieve its objective and may well make matters worse.

William Rosenberg

Mount Vernon

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