Statement: Engage Maine’s Responsible Solution

MECEP urges policymakers to support a responsible solution for a more cost-effective health care delivery and fairer tax structure that will shrink budget shortfall.

The Governor’s proposal would:

  • Eliminate health coverage for more than 56,000 low-income people and cut medically necessary services for thousands of others remaining on the MaineCare program.  
  • Cut some or all of the help for 40,000 seniors and people with disabilities to lower their Medicare and prescription drug costs.
  • Cut prevention programs supported by the Fund for Healthy Maine, including immunizations, oral health, and early childhood programs key to a healthy future.  
  • Eliminate residential homes and necessary personal supports for more than 5,000 vulnerable people, including seniors and adults with developmental disabilities and severe and persistent mental illness who will no longer have a place to live.

Our Responsible Solution:

  • Reforms MaineCare to address the real cost drivers.  For example, our proposal provides more aggressive care management, payment reform, a greater emphasis on prevention and early treatment, as well as collecting payments owed to MaineCare by private insurers and veterans’ health care programs.
  • Repeals the LePage tax cuts for those who make over $200,000.  Last year, the Governor and the Legislature approved a tax package that provided more than 42% of its income tax benefits to the wealthiest 10% of Maine taxpayers and raised property taxes for low- and moderate-income households.  The budget also cut health care and education.  Today, we know that budget was based on false promises. 
  • Makes the top 1% pay as much in taxes as the average Mainer.  A Maine family with at least one member working full-time at minimum wage has a state and local tax rate approximately 70% higher than top 1%.  Based on 2009 figures, the top 1% (6,700 households) had an effective state and local tax rate approximately 12% lower than the average for all Maine people.  Increasing the effective tax rate on the top 1% to the state average and restoring the 2010 tax rate for people earning more than $200,000 would generate about $72 million a year.

Maine Sunday Telegram, 1/25/2012

“Another alternative was proposed in Maine last week by a coalition of groups including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, and it deserves serious consideration. They proposed scaling back tax cuts for Maine’s highest income residents as a better alternative to dealing with this crisis than cutting services for the most needy. Lawmakers should not eliminate this or any other idea when they do the hard work of passing a bipartisan budget amendment.”

Bangor Daily News, 1/31/2012

“Cutting the tax rate is an important step toward rebuilding Maine’s image as a friendly place to do business. But if those cuts come too soon or are so steep as to push 65,000 people off health insurance, they should be reconsidered. A progressive group has urged the Legislature to raise taxes to cover the shortfall, arguing Maine’s wealthiest 1 percent pays an effective rate in state and local taxes that is 12 percent lower than others pay. Restoring tax rates to their 2010 levels for those earning more than $200,000 could generate more than $70 million a year, according to the progressive Maine Center for Economic Policy.”

Join the growing list of individuals, organizations, and businesses that support responsible solutions for Maine: 

• Maine Medical Association
• Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
• Maine People’s Alliance
• Engage Maine
• Consumers for Affordable Health Care
• Family Planning Association of Maine
• League of Young Voters
• Maine AFL-CIO
• Maine Center for Economic Policy
• Maine Council of Senior Citizens
• Maine Education Association
• Maine Equal Justice
• Maine State Employee’s Association/SEIU
• Maine Women’s Lobby
• Moose Ridge Associates
• Maine Chapter, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England