Clear, concise language explains intent to voters
AUGUSTA, ME | JUNE 20, 2016 – Stand Up for Students, the organization that put the question addressing tax fairness and educational equity on Maine’s November 2016 ballot, today acknowledged the minor changes made by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to the referendum question, and urged Mainers now to turn their attention to helping achieve adequate funding in all Maine classrooms.
The question now reads:
“Do you want to add a 3% tax on individual Maine taxable income above $200,000 to create a state fund that would provide direct support for student learning in kindergarten through 12th grade public education?”
Stand Up for Students collected nearly 75,000 valid signatures to get the question on the ballot.
“Secretary Dunlap leaves the integrity of the language in tact and it’s easy for voters to understand,” said John Kosinski, Campaign Manager for Stand Up for Students. “We’re calling for tax fairness and fair funding for public education. All Maine children deserve a quality education, regardless of zip code.”
The State of Maine is obligated to fund 55% of the cost of K-12 public education. It has never met the full 55% of the cost. Last year, the State of Maine funded only 47.5% of the cost of K-12 public education, falling short by $154 million.
Benjamin Brigham, an English teacher and Technology Coordinator at Shead High School—and also Washington County’s 2015 Teacher of the Year added, ““The children of Maine are depending on all of us to do what government, so far, has failed to do: give them all, regardless of where they live, a fully funded public education and find a fair way to pay for it. This referendum does both.”
The referendum calls for the establishment of a fund to support K-12 public education by enacting a three percent surcharge on Maine taxable income above $200,000. The surcharge will raise $157 million per year.