AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Republicans are criticizing Democrats for blocking an effort to hold a public hearing on a ballot question to raise taxes to provide home care for elderly and disabled people needing help with daily activities.

The referendum is now headed for the November ballot after lawmakers failed to pass it.

Republican Assistant House Leader Ellie Espling says voters deserve a public hearing to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the effort. She says the cost of the effort was downplayed in early signature-gathering efforts.

The initiative would increase taxes on Mainers employers and employees making over $128,000 in order to raise $310 million annually.

Democrats said a casino ballot question got a hearing but other recent ballot questions didn’t.

The campaign has reported receiving $350,000 from billionaire philanthropist George Soros.