Important Notice Concerning New Tax on Service Providers

We are passing this along from Ruth Blauer, Executive Director of The Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs, and hoping you can take a minute to read and respond:

As you know, the 1% service provider tax impacts every agency in various amounts. It is important that you each, if impacted (Volunteers of America is impacted), quickly talk to your Senators and Representatives to urge that they support a solution to eliminating the 1% service tax increase.

Attached are basic talking points and also copied below. Feel free to add your own points. These are just the bare bones.

Please contact your legislators to let them know that your agency and your clients will be harmed by this increased tax.

You can call the House and Senate toll free number to leave a message for your legislators. You will simply leave a voice message that includes your name, your agency and address, and phone number for a return call, and ask for their support in eliminating or otherwise solving the 1% increase in the service provider tax.

The toll free numbers are: Senate 1-800-423-6900 House 1-800-423-2900

It's important for you to make your legislators aware that this is a problem for your agency and ultimately your clients and their constituents. All legislators, but especially Republicans, and members of the HHS and Appropriations Committees are critical to this vote.

Talking Points, Service Provider Tax increase

Last June PL 268 increased the Service Provider Tax rate from 5% to 6%, effective January 1, 2016

This tax is levied on several MaineCare funded services to Maine's most vulnerable children and adults with disabilities, including PNMI or personal care services, community support for individuals with mental illness, community and home supports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or autism, and group residential services for individuals with brain injury

* PL 268 failed to make baseline budget adjustments to various MaineCare accounts for these services – in short, there is no money

* Providers of these services have the tax liability, but have no funds to compensate them for this increased liability. The 1% increase in the service provider tax will not be matched as it has been in previous years.

* Providers may have no choice, since they have no surplus dollars, except to reduce services by the same percentage in order to pay the increased tax liability

* These are needy people; additional reduction will make their situations dire

This is (Your name) I am asking you to support making baseline adjustments to the General Fund to assure adequate funding in the baseline to restore state funding for the added 1% service provider tax, preventing direct service cuts to vulnerable populations, effective January 1, 2016. The Office of Fiscal and Program Review can provide the affected accounts and appropriation amounts for each.