Washington, D.C. – The referendums on wages and taxes in regards to public education represent some of the most fundamental and widely supported policy proposals that Maine voters have ever addressed by referendum. If passed, they will have an immediate effect of tens of thousands of Mainers and long terms effects on many more. Together, in the next few months, the advocates behind them have a chance to dramatically affect the political dialogue in Maine and provide a clear narrative on building a new economy that works for the many, instead of the few, through fair taxes, fair wages and investing in the future of the state in a way that few referendum campaigns have achieved.
A measure to gradually increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 and new funding to support public education have both passed the roughly 61,000 signature threshold needed to be voted on this November. BISC applauds these measures that will help strengthen working families and education children across the state.
“Voters are frustrated with Washington and lawmakers in Augusta, and the ballot is one way that we can continue to advance the issues that empower families and expand opportunity for all,” said Justine Sarver, Executive Director of BISC. “For too long lawmakers have refused to pass livable minimum wage, and this year Mainers have the chance to strengthen the state’s economy.”
Amy Halsted, Campaign Manager for Mainers for Fair Wages added, “The Mainers for Fair Wages initiative will help over one hundred and thirty thousand people who are working hard, spending countless hours away from their families, frequently at more than one job, and still can’t make ends meet. This is about single mothers raising children, and seniors who can’t afford to retire. Working people deserve better than poverty pay for full time work. We need to rebuild a Maine economy that works for everyone, and ensuring fair wages for all workers is a critical first step.”
Maine residents fight for a living wage and necessary funding for its public education system are all too common in our country today. That is why BISC is working with partner organizations across the country to help pass ballot initiatives that will measurably improve the lives of Americans everywhere.