Support Maine Families through Universal Family Care

Last updated: Jan 28, 2018

Details about this bill
Category: Wage and Labor
Status: Defeated
Sponsor: Representative Drew Gattine, House 126
Session: 128
Bill #: LD 1612

Position:

UPDATE: This bill has been withdrawn by the bill sponsor. However, we expect this issue will be on the November 2018 ballot as a referendum question.

Summary:

This bill establishes the Universal Family Care Program of universal child care and in-home and community support services for all individuals and families who are eligible. Eligibility for universal child care is based on the age of the child, and eligibility for in-home and community support services is based on medical eligibility. Income is not a factor for eligibility. The bill establishes the Universal Family Care Trust Fund, which is managed by a board composed of members who represent child care providers, home care agencies, employees of child care providers and home care agencies and consumers of child care and home care services. The board employs professional staff and receives advice from an advisory committee composed of the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, the Commissioner of Education and the Commissioner of Labor as well as the Treasurer of State, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Base funding for universal child care is from child care funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and the federal Child Care and Development Fund block grant. Base funding for universal in-home and community support services is from federal matching funding related to home and community support services and state funding for elder services provided in the home.

To complete the funding for the Universal Family Care Program, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Revenue Services is directed to develop and submit to the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services draft legislation to establish universal family care taxes. The taxes are to be structured to include 3 elements: a tax on wages that is substantially equivalent to the federal Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program tax, but that applies only to earnings above the annual contribution and benefit base of the federal tax; a self-employment tax applicable to taxpayers who are subject to the federal Self-Employment Contributions Act tax that is equivalent to that tax and applies to net earnings above the annual limit subject to taxation under that federal tax; and a tax equal to the wage and self-employment taxes that is imposed on unearned annual income and that applies in a manner similar to the federal Net Investment Income Tax. The bill directs the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services to report out a bill to the Second Regular Session of the 128th Legislature to establish universal family care taxes to fully fund the Universal Family Care Program.