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Survey Finds Support For Higher Taxes on Wealthy To Protect Social Services

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The Legislature in January will begin considering proposals to improve the state's health-care system. (Formulanone/Wikimedia Commons)
The Legislature in January will begin considering proposals to improve the state's health-care system. (Formulanone/Wikimedia Commons)
 By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - ME - Producer, Contact
December 22, 2020

AUGUSTA, Maine -- A new survey shows in the wake of the pandemic, a majority of people in Maine want the state government to protect essential services from cuts without raising property taxes.

Evan LeBrun, executive director of Mainers for Working Families, which sponsored the poll, said large majorities support closing corporate tax loopholes, guaranteeing health insurance for all, and forbidding pharmacies from charging higher prices than their counterparts in Canada.

"Mainers are really looking to Augusta for some common-sense solutions to help make sure that working families can stay afloat," LeBrun contended.

The poll also found significant support for the creation of a state-based family and paid-leave insurance fund, and for raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations in order to avoid budget cuts.

A recent study from Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care found 66,000 Mainers lost health insurance during the pandemic and nearly 200,000 put off medical care last year because of the cost.

The Maine Legislature goes back into session in January, and LeBrun noted the survey found support for a state-based fee on health insurance companies, which would replace a federal version that expires next week.

"At the end of the year when this federal tax on health-insurance providers expires, it's going to be a huge windfall to those health insurance companies," LeBrun explained. "But Maine has the chance to instead recoup that revenue and invest in making health care more affordable."

Advocates would also like the state to create a health-care affordability board to look at ways to increase transparency, improve access to health care and bring down the price of prescription drugs.

Disclosure: Mainers for Working Families contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Civic Engagement, Health Issues, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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