QUESTION 1: CITIZEN’S INITIATIVE

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% 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?

Explanation of the intent and content of Question 1, prepared by the Office of the Attorney General

This initiated bill establishes a new Universal Home Care Program to provide “in-home and community support services” to senior citizens (65 years of age or older) and persons with physical or mental disabilities residing in Maine who need assistance with at least one activity of daily living. Individuals residing in a hospital, nursing care facility, intermediate care facility for persons with intellectual disabilities, adult family care home, or residential care facility would not be eligible for the program. Income would not be a factor in determining eligibility, and the services would be made available at no cost to the individuals or their families.

In-home and community support services are defined as meaning health care, social services and other assistance required to enable adults with long-term care needs to remain in their homes. This includes self-directed care services; medical and diagnostic services; professional nursing care; physical, occupational and speech therapy; dietary and nutritional services; personal care assistance; home health aide services; respite care and hospice care; as well as small rent subsidies, transportation, and devices that lessen the effects of disabilities.

A nine-member board, known as the “Universal Home Care Trust Fund Board,” would be responsible for designing the program and overseeing its administration in accordance with the statute and to the extent of available resources in the Universal Home Care Trust Fund described below. The board would be comprised of three representatives from each of the following “constituencies”: 1) personal care agencies, 2) individual providers and direct service providers employed by in-home and community support service agencies, and 3) recipients of the services, or their family members or guardians. The initial board would be appointed to serve for one year, after which each of these three constituencies would have the power to elect their own representatives to the board in accordance with procedures established by the board. The board would be authorized to hire an executive director and staff to administer the program.

The board’s responsibilities would include creating a process for assessing individuals’ needs and determining the extent of services each person may receive, establishing quality and safety standards for care, setting reimbursement rates for providers, creating a system for providing stipends to family caregivers, and managing the program within the limits of available resources in the fund.

If the demand for services exceeded available funds, the board would be authorized to curtail services and to provide varying levels of service to eligible persons based on an assessment of their needs. The legislation authorizes the board to create waiting lists and take other measures as needed to create an orderly process for providing eligible persons with benefits as soon as sufficient funding is available.

The legislation would require service providers to spend a minimum of 77% of the funds received through the program on direct service worker costs. Individual workers employed directly by their clients to provide services, rather than through an agency, would be treated as state employees for purposes of the Maine Labor Relations Act, which establishes collective bargaining rights, defines prohibited employment practices, and creates a grievance process for handling labor disputes.

The program would be funded by a new tax of 3.8% on both wage income and non-wage income in excess of a threshold called the “universal home care tax income threshold.” That threshold is equal to the limit on the amount of wages that are subject to Social Security taxes under existing federal law. For wages earned in 2018, this amount is $128,400. It is adjusted annually pursuant to federal law. All of the tax revenue collected would be deposited in the Universal Home Care Trust Fund, to be administered by the Universal Home Care Trust Fund Board.

The tax on wage income (including wages, salaries, tips, and other employee compensation) would be paid by both employers and employees, at the rate of 1.9% each, on the amount of wage income that exceeds the threshold. The portion of the tax paid by employees would be withheld from their wages, in the same manner as Social Security taxes.

The new tax also would apply to non-wage income. Each taxpayer would pay a tax of 3.8% on the amount of Maine adjusted gross income (“MAGI”) that exceeds the threshold, reduced by the amount of the tax on wage income paid by the employee and his or her employer.

The proponents of the legislation have stated that the 3.8% tax is intended to be applied on an individual basis, meaning that it would apply only to the amount of each individual’s earned and unearned income above the threshold for that individual. This intent is expressed in some of the language and structure of the bill. However, other critical language in the bill — in particular, use of the term MAGI — could be interpreted in a way inconsistent with this intent. For a married couple filing a joint income tax return, MAGI is defined in law as the couple’s aggregate or combined income, so use of the term MAGI in the bill could mean that a married couple filing a joint income tax return would be subject to this tax if the couple’s MAGI exceeded the threshold, even if each individual’s wage and non-wage income fell below the threshold.

If approved, this citizen initiated legislation would take effect 30 days after the Governor proclaims the official results of the election.

A “YES” vote is to enact the initiated legislation.

A “NO” vote opposes the initiated legislation.

Fiscal Impact Statement — Prepared by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review

This citizen initiative establishes the Universal Home Care Program to provide in-home and community support services for all people with disabilities living in Maine who require assistance with an activity of daily living and people 65 years of age or older living in Maine who require assistance with an activity of daily living, without regard to income. In-home and community support services include, but are not limited to, self-directed care services; medical and diagnostic services; professional nursing; physical, occupational and speech therapy; dietary and nutrition services; home health aide services; personal care assistance services; companion and attendant services; home repair, chore and homemaker services; respite care; hospice care; counseling services; transportation; small rent subsidies; various devices that lessen the effects of disabilities; and other appropriate and necessary social services.

The initiative establishes the Universal Home Care Trust Fund and the Universal Home Care Trust Fund Board to oversee and manage the fund and its use under the program. The fund will receive revenue from a new tax of 3.8% on income and wages that exceed a threshold defined as the maximum wages subject to Social Security employment taxes. For wage income, employers will pay 1.9% and employees will pay 1.9% (total of 3.8%). For non-wage income, individuals will pay 3.8% of Maine adjusted gross income above the threshold, reduced by a credit for whatever amount would have already been accounted for by the tax on wage income paid by both the employee and employer. This tax is expected to generate $310,000,000 annually.

The Universal Home Care Trust Fund Board shall design and deliver the program to provide eligible persons with in-home and community support services. As the need for services may exceed the board’s ability to provide universal access to full benefits, the board shall place limits on the amount of services available to each eligible person through the program. When curtailing services, the board may provide varying levels of service to eligible persons depending on an assessment of their needs. The board may allocate an amount of funding for each assessment level and restrict the total amount of services provided to eligible persons in that assessment level to the funding amount allocated to that level. As the board is prohibited from providing or offering services that would incur costs in excess of available funds, currently estimated at $310,000,000 annually, the program is not required to cover all possible in-home and community support services for all eligible persons.

Not included in the annual costs above are certain one-time costs. Approximately $225,000 would be needed for changes to the tax system, including programming and tax forms. Also, as this initiative proposes to treat individual providers of in-home and community support services as State employees for the purposes of the State Employees Labor Relations Act, the Maine Labor Relations Board (MLRB) will incur costs to conduct a secret ballot election among employees in the bargaining unit if the MLRB is presented with a petition for bargaining agent election supported by a showing of interest from at least 30% of the individual providers. The elections are conducted through the United States mail at a cost of $1.26 per voter. The cost to the MLRB will depend on the number of individual providers eligible to vote, the number of employee organizations on the ballot and whether or not a second “run-off” election will be required.

Because the board will restrict benefits to the available resources, no additional General Fund appropriations will be required. However, the program will need allocations to allow expenditure of fund revenue. If approved by the voters, additional implementing legislation will be required to provide the additional allocations.

QUESTION 2: BOND ISSUE

Do you favor a $30,000,000 bond issue to improve water quality, support the planning and construction of wastewater treatment facilities and assist homeowners whose homes are served by substandard or malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems?

Explanation of the intent and content of Question 2, prepared by the Office of the Attorney General

This Act would authorize the State to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $30,000,000, for projects as described below. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State. Proceeds of the sale of bonds would be expended by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to support the following three programs in the amounts specified below:

• $2,000,000 would be distributed in the form of grants to municipalities to help replace failing septic systems that are polluting coastal watersheds or causing a public nuisance. Such grants are administered under the existing Small Communities Grant Program, which is governed by Title 38, section 411 of the Maine Revised Statutes, and Chapter 592 of the Department’s rules.

• $27,650,000 would be distributed as grants to municipalities to cover from fifteen to twenty-five percent of the costs of planning pollution abatement facilities, and up to eighty percent of the cost of constructing such facilities, in accordance with Title 38, sections 411 and 412 of the Maine Revised Statutes. Priority is to be given to areas with high-value shellfish resources. Funds also may be used for hydrographic modeling. Such modeling can determine the flow of wastewater discharges and thereby make it possible to define more precisely the size and scope of any areas that must remain closed to shellfish harvesting in order to protect public health.

• $350,000 would be distributed in the form of grants to help homeowners cover the cost of eliminating residential overboard discharge systems that are discharging pollutants in coastal watersheds and replacing them with technologically proven alternatives. The grants would cover a percentage of the costs on a sliding scale based on the homeowner’s annual income up to a maximum of $125,000, as set forth in Title 38, section 411-A of the Maine Revised Statutes, and Chapter 594 of the Department’s rules. The funds would be used only for systems that serve a homeowner’s primary residence.

If approved, the bond authorization would take effect 30 days after the Governor’s proclamation of the vote.

A “YES” vote approves the issuance of up to thirty million dollars ($30,000,000) in general obligation bonds to finance the activities described above.

A “NO” vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety.

Debt Service — Prepared by the Office of the Treasurer

Total estimated life time cost is $38,250,000 representing $30,000,000 in principal and $8,250,000 in interest (assuming interest at 5.0% over 10 years).

Fiscal Impact Statement — Prepared by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review

This bond issue has no significant fiscal impact other than the debt service costs identified above.

QUESTION 3: BOND ISSUE

Do you favor a $106,000,000 bond issue, including $101,000,000 for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities and equipment related to ports, piers, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and $5,000,000 for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?

Explanation of the intent and content of Question 3, prepared by the Office of the Attorney General

This Act would authorize the State to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $106,000,000, to raise funds for a variety of projects as described below. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State.

$100,000,000 of the proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Department of Transportation for the following purposes:

Highways, secondary roads and bridges — $80,000,000 would be expended to:

• construct or reconstruct state highways that have been designated as Priority 1, 2 or 3 by the Department of Transportation;

• repair secondary roads in partnership with municipalities pursuant to the existing Municipal Partnership Initiative program; and

• replace and rehabilitate bridges.

Municipalities are required to contribute 50% or more of the project costs under the Municipal Partnership Initiative program. Highway and bridge projects are matched with federal funds on a ratio of 1.1 to 1 (federal to state) dollars. Accordingly, these bond proceeds are expected to leverage approximately $88,000,000 in federal and local matching funds.

Multi-modal projects — $20,000,000 would be spent on a variety of projects, including facilities, equipment and property acquisition related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, aviation, railroads (both passenger and freight), transit (public transportation) and bicycle and pedestrian trails. The intent is to fund projects that preserve public safety or otherwise demonstrate high economic value in terms of transportation. The investment of these bond proceeds is expected to be matched by approximately $49,000,000 in federal, local and private funds.

An additional $1,000,000 of the bond proceeds would be expended by Maine Maritime Academy for remediation of and improvements to its waterfront pier in Castine.

$5,000,000 in proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection as a competitive grant program to upgrade or replace municipal culverts at stream crossings in order to improve fish and wildlife habitats, reduce flood hazards and improve storm water management. Local governments, municipal conservation commissions, soil and water conservation districts and private nonprofit organizations would be eligible to apply for these grants and would be required to provide some matching funds.

If approved, the bond authorization would take effect 30 days after the Governor’s proclamation of the vote.

A “YES” vote approves the issuance of up to $106,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance the activities described above.

A “NO” vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety.

Debt Service — Prepared by the Office of the Treasurer

Total estimated life time cost is $135,150,000 representing $106,000,000 in principal and $29,150,000 in interest (assuming interest at 5.0% over 10 years).

Fiscal Impact Statement — Prepared by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review

This bond issue has no significant fiscal impact other than the debt service costs identified above.

QUESTION 4: BOND ISSUE

Do you favor a $49,000,000 bond issue to be matched by at least $49,000,000 in private and public funds to modernize and improve the facilities and infrastructure of Maine’s public universities in order to expand workforce development capacity and to attract and retain students to strengthen Maine’s economy and future workforce?

Intent and Content — Prepared by the Office of the Attorney General


This Act would authorize the State to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $49,000,000, to raise funds for a variety of projects as described below. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State.

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be expended by the University of Maine System to support the construction, reconstruction and remodeling of existing and new facilities and infrastructure as approved by the Board of Trustees. The purpose of the bond funding is to expand the University of Maine System’s capacity to develop Maine’s workforce and enhance its ability to attract and retain students. The projects currently approved by the Board of Trustees are located at all seven campuses in the University of Maine System and include renovations and improvements to dormitories, modernization and expansion of laboratories and classrooms for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs, nursing and child care programs, as well as development of career service centers, and other facilities to support first-generation and non-traditional students. The bond proceeds would have to be matched by an equal amount of funding from other private and public sources.

If approved, the bond authorization would take effect 30 days after the Governor’s proclamation of the vote.

A “YES” vote approves the issuance of up to $49,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance the above-described activities as approved by the University of Maine System’s Board of Trustees.

A “NO” vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety.

Debt Service — Prepared by the Office of the Treasurer

Total estimated life time cost is $62,475,000 representing $49,000,000 in principal and $13,475,000 in interest (assuming interest at 5.0% over 10 years).

Fiscal Impact Statement — Prepared by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review

This bond issue has no significant fiscal impact other than the debt service costs identified above.

QUESTION 5: BOND ISSUE

Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue to improve educational programs by upgrading facilities at all 7 of Maine’s community colleges in order to provide Maine people with access to high-skill, low-cost technical and career education?

Intent and Content Prepared by the Office of the Attorney General

This Act would authorize the State to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $15,000,000, to raise funds for facility improvements at seven Maine Community College System campuses, as described below. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State.

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be spent by the Maine Community College System for the following purposes and in the following amounts:

• $2,503,755 — Central Maine Community College in Auburn to renovate and expand instructional laboratories, upgrade information technology infrastructure, and upgrade heating and ventilating systems in order to improve energy efficiency and achieve long-term savings.

• $2,233,082 — Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor to upgrade information technology systems and convert heating systems to natural gas.

• $2,190,731 — Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield and Hinckley to fund capital equipment for a new program in millwrighting and industrial mechanics, upgrade information technology infrastructure and instructional and library technologies, and replace and insulate aging windows and facades on certain buildings.

• $ 1,165,119 — Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle to expand the laboratory for the diesel hydraulics program, renovate classrooms, upgrade information technology infrastructure, upgrade heating and ventilation systems, and invest in energy efficiencies.

• $4,275,100 — Southern Maine Community College in South Portland and Brunswick to repair and improve facilities, achieve energy efficiencies, and upgrade information technology systems as well as instructional and library services.

• $ 885,853 — Washington County Community College in Calais to renovate and expand instructional laboratories, upgrade information technology systems, and invest in instruction technologies.

• $1,746,360 — York County Community College in Wells to upgrade information technology systems and develop an Industrial Trades Center in Sanford.

If approved, the authorization of these bonds would take effect 30 days after the Governor’s proclamation of the vote.

A “YES” vote approves the issuance of up to fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) in general obligation bonds to finance the activities described above.

A “NO” vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety.

Debt Service — Prepared by the Office of the Treasurer

Total estimated life time cost is $19,125,000 representing $15,000,000 in principal and $4,125,000 in interest (assuming interest at 5.0% over 10 years).

Fiscal Impact Statement — Prepared by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review

This bond issue has no significant fiscal impact other than the debt service costs identified above.