The Nov. 6 ballot puts five questions before Maine voters. One proposes increasing taxes on higher incomes to pay for home health care workers, and the other four would allow the state to borrow money to pay for projects. Here is a quick guide to the five ballot questions:

Question 1

Question 1 would increase taxes on higher-income households to subsidize the cost of in-home care for elderly and disabled residents.

The measure would require employees and their employers to split an additional 3.8 percent tax on adjusted gross wage income above $128,400 a year. Other income such as capital gains also would be taxed at 3.8 percent above the $128,400 threshold.

According to the Maine Society of Certified Public Accountants, the resulting state tax rate for income in excess of $128,400 would be nearly 11 percent — the third highest in the nation behind California and Hawaii. The referendum’s backers say drastic action is needed to address a looming home care crisis in Maine, and that state lawmakers have failed to adequately tackle the problem.

According to the Maine Society of CPAs’ analysis, the referendum’s beneficiaries could include anyone living in Maine over the age of 65 who is struggling with at least one activity of daily living as well as anyone living in Maine who qualifies for disability entitlements. Subsidized home health care services would be available to those beneficiaries regardless of their income.

Question 2

Question 2 asks voters to approve a $30 million bond to improve sewage systems.


The 10-year general obligation bond would fund improvements to municipal and private wastewater system: $27.6 million in grants to help design and build wastewater treatment plants; $2 million in grants to towns to replace malfunctioning septic systems that pollute coastal watersheds or cause a public nuisance; and $350,000 to assist homeowners with substandard or malfunctioning sewer systems that discharge into coastal watersheds.

Question 3

Question 3 asks voters to approve a $106 million bond for transportation infrastructure.

Of that amount, $80 million would pay for road and bridge construction; $20 million for ports, harbors, airports, railroads, public transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails; $1 million to improve the pier at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine; and $5 million to upgrade municipal culverts.

Question 4

Question 4 ask voters to approve a $49 million bond for the University of Maine System. The money would be split between upgrading infrastructure and expanding programs. The bulk of the funding – $26 million – would go to the University of Southern Maine, which would use some of it to create a new engineering lab, retrofit computer labs, expand nursing programs and capacity, and pay for a new career center that would include an “employment hub” where employers are paired with students for internships, jobs or research help. The rest would be split among the campuses for smaller projects.

Question 5

Question 5 asks voters to approve a $15 million bond for the Maine Community College System.

The money would be split between upgrading infrastructure and expanding programs. For example: Kennebec Valley Community College’s industrial trade center is no longer adequate for the welding, precision mechanics, HVAC and line worker tech programs it houses. At Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, some of the money would be used to expand the diesel hydraulics program laboratory.

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