AUGUSTA — The Maine Republican Party’s effort to lower income taxes and reform welfare won’t appear on Maine’s ballot in 2016, but a spokesman said Friday the party will push for a vote next year.

It was always a strong possibility that the GOP’s bid to get more than 61,000 signatures from Maine voters by Feb. 1 to qualify for this year’s ballot would fail, after the party announced the drive in September as perhaps the focal point of Gov. Paul LePage’s final-term agenda.

Jason Savage, the Maine Republican Party’s executive director, said the party collected “tens of thousands of signatures” during the drive, which will now continue in an effort to get the question on the 2017 ballot.

“We’ve been really successful, but we don’t want to leave anything to chance with everything being certified,” he said.

The party’s proposal would attempt to eliminate income taxes by bringing the tax rate down between 2018 and 2021 and using state liquor contract revenue to reduce it afterward. Also, it would place new restrictions on cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, food stamps and other benefits.

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