Together, our organizations represent thousands of Maine businesses large and small. Our members strongly oppose Question 1 on the ballot Nov. 6. If Question 1 passes, Maine will become the highest-taxed state in the nation for middle-class families and Maine’s economy will be seriously harmed.

To begin with, Question 1 is terrible tax policy, no matter one’s view on the universal home care program it seeks to create.

Question 1 would impose a massive, $310 million additional 3.8 percent tax each year on 60,000 Maine families and more than 20,000 Maine businesses. They cannot afford it, and neither can we as a state.

Proponents of Question 1, primarily the Maine People’s Alliance, blatantly mislead voters when they claim the tax is only on wealthy individuals. Leading analysts and independent organizations like Maine Revenue Services, the Secretary of State’s Office, the Office of the State Economist, the Maine Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review have determined that the tax in Question 1 also will be imposed on two-income families.

That means a nurse and a police officer, or a plumber and a teacher who combined make over $128,400, will be required to pay this tax on top of what they already pay in taxes. These middle-class families are hardly the “wealthiest” Mainers, as proponents claim. These are hard-working Maine families trying to build their future here.

The new tax in Question 1 also will hit thousands of businesses very hard, especially small businesses. In fact, any self-employed Mainer or Maine business that files as a limited liability corporation, a partnership or an S corporation, as so many small businesses do, would pay a higher tax rate than Maine’s largest corporations.

Huge tax increases like the one proposed in Question 1, possibly the largest ever on a ballot, are never wise. The timing is particularly unfortunate with so many local and statewide efforts doing great work to improve Maine’s ability to compete economically, attract new workers and stop population loss. Question 1 would set back these efforts and the progress Maine is making.

Those efforts include helping young people here and from away see Maine as a great place to live and work. Students and young professionals have told us that proposals like Question 1 make Maine a less appealing place to start their careers and families. They see they can do better elsewhere.

They don’t have to look far. Neighboring New Hampshire has zero income tax. And Massachusetts’ highest tax rate is half what Maine’s would be under Question 1.

If Maine has the highest income tax in the country for middle-class families – two-income households earning between $128,400 and $400,000 – imagine how much harder it will be to keep businesses, workers and young people in Maine and attract the new ones we need.

Question 1 is so problematic that all Maine candidates for governor oppose it. Legislative leaders and an overwhelming majority of legislative candidates from all political parties oppose it. Maine’s independent U.S. senator, Angus King, opposes it. Nearly 40 Maine organizations spanning health care, home care for senior citizens and those with disabilities, and business groups like ours oppose the question.

It is unclear if Question 1 was even written by Maine people. It is clear that much of the funding behind it comes from wealthy, out-of-state donors and special interests who would not be affected by the new tax.

We urge voters to beware of the details of this deeply flawed ballot question and proponents’ misleading claims about Question 1, including that Augusta can fix the many problems with it if it passes. There is no guarantee of that. Question 1 will be law if it passes. Fixing it is a risky and uncertain path to take.

Voters deserve the truth, and that is that Question 1 would be devastating for Maine. It would drain billions of dollars out of our economy, drive people away and keep other people out of our state. By making Maine the highest-taxed state in the country, Maine would be one of the costliest and least attractive states in America in which to live, work and do business.

Please join us in voting “no” on Question 1 on Nov. 6 to defeat this disastrous measure.


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