What’s wrong with the governor’s tax proposal, in one chart

April 16, 2015 by

There are two fundamental problems with the governor’s tax reform plan. First, it doesn’t adequately target tax cuts to low- and moderate-income Mainers. Second, it would force cuts to education, health care, and other critical services important to Maine people and businesses.

We can see this with a simple pie chart showing information from Maine Revenue Services’ distributional analysis of the governor’s plan. His plan provides $150 million in tax … Read the rest

#BetterDeal4ME is a big winner in Maine’s major newspapers

April 14, 2015 by

261351869-A-Better-Deal-for-MaineWhen the Democratic leaders in the legislature announced their Better Deal for Maine (#BetterDeal4ME) plan on April 9, the Bangor Daily News was bullish on the proposal:

“Democratic leaders in the Legislature have put forward something more than opposition: They’ve released a tax plan of their own that moves the entire conversation about tax reform in a promising direction.”

Noting that “the tax burden in only five other states … Read the rest

Education committee fails Maine college students

April 10, 2015 by

Maine’s neediest college students will get no relief from the crushing costs of a college education. In fact, this week the legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs delivered a heartbreaking blow to students with the greatest financial need, making the dream of a college degree unattainable for thousands of Mainers.

College Affordability 4-10-2015blogYesterday, the committee dismissed a bill (LD 627) that would have increased Maine’s primary needs-based … Read the rest

The True Tale of a Health Policy Maverick

April 7, 2015 by
Ohio Governor John Kasich with Governor LePage in Augusta, March 26, 2015.

Ohio Governor John Kasich with Governor LePage in Augusta, March 26, 2015.

Ohio Governor John Kasich isn’t afraid of controversy, and he’s been taking his show on the road as of late. In Maine recently, he promoted a constitutional convention to force a balanced budget amendment. But the LePage Administration isn’t promoting Governor Kasich’s other controversial, more successful stand: Kasich bucked his party and championed accepting federal health care funds … Read the rest

Maine legislators must reject the Governor’s call for a Constitutional Convention

March 26, 2015 by

With today’s visit from Governor Kasich of Ohio, Governor LePage appears to be buying into a radical and reckless idea to call a Constitutional Convention under Article V of the US Constitution. The legislature should reject any resolve or other legislative vehicle offered by the Governor to do so.

Calling a constitutional convention is extremely dangerous. A constitutional convention would open up the US Constitution to whatever amendments its delegates … Read the rest

Low-income Maine residents would benefit from Governor LePage’s proposed sales tax fairness credit

March 25, 2015 by

Buried in Governor LePage’s tax reform proposal is a good provision that would create new refundable income tax credit for low-income Maine residents. This credit is meant to offset some of the impact of sales tax increases and expansions the governor is proposing as part of his tax reform plan. The governor has correctly recognized that increasing sales taxes would have a disproportionately large impact on low-income residents. The idea … Read the rest

Labor Department’s minimum wage testimony misses the mark

March 24, 2015 by

Instead of informing yesterday’s public hearing on a raft of bills that would raise Maine’s minimum wage, the Maine Department of Labor chose to present a slew of unhelpful facts in an attempt to persuade lawmakers to vote against common-sense legislation to raise wages for tens of thousands of low- and middle-income Maine workers, increase demand for goods and services in Maine’s economy, and reward work.

In wide-ranging testimony, Julie … Read the rest

The only surprise in Maine’s labor force participation decline is why it took so long to happen

March 19, 2015 by

Maine’s labor force participation was 64.1% in 2014, down from 65.1% in 2013, according to model-based estimates from the Labor Department released earlier this year. Maine’s 2014 decline was one of the largest in the nation. The estimates come from the US Labor Department’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, based on a monthly survey of fewer than 2,000 Maine households. LAUS is the longstanding source for official estimates of … Read the rest

A paperwork obstacle is denying Maine kids healthy, nutritious school meals

March 19, 2015 by

school lunch 4We all know that being hungry can make us irritable, tired, and addled. We only have to watch the recent Snickers™ television commercials to appreciate we are sometimes not at our best when we are hungry. You know the ones: “You’re not you when you’re hungry” where irrationally angry celebrities are transformed into calm, normal people after eating a candy bar.

Now imagine if you are chronically hungry because your … Read the rest

Many non-resident estates would benefit from Governor LePage’s proposed estate tax repeal

March 18, 2015 by

As I explained previously, Gov. LePage’s proposal to eliminate Maine’s estate tax would exclusively benefit the wealthy. And now, thanks to information provided to the Taxation Committee yesterday by Maine Revenue Services, we learn that nearly half of the benefit would accrue to the estates of wealthy out-of-state residents. There were 153 taxable estates in Maine from decedents who died in 2013. Of those, 83 (54%) belonged to Maine … Read the rest

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