Leaked memo confirms Governor’s priorities remain the same – tax breaks for the wealthy, cuts in crucially important investments in our communities

July 28, 2016 by
James Myall

James Myall

An internal memo leaked from a member of Governor LePage’s administration to the Portland Press Herald reveals LePage’s plans for the upcoming legislative session and the 2018-19 biennial budget. For his final two-year proposal, the governor plans to pursue the same priorities that Mainers and legislators have rejected over and over again – tax breaks for the wealthy, funded by reductions in education, health care, and other services … Read the rest

How payday lenders skirt the law

July 20, 2016 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

The facts about how payday lenders trap working families in debt are shocking:

Read the rest

Women have higher poverty rates in retirement than men

July 13, 2016 by
Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan

Recently, my colleague Jody Harris posted about how devious payday lenders prey heavily on women. She added that, “Women continue to earn less than their male counterparts, and they also continue to be the ones who assume responsibility for taking care of children and elder parents.” Jody also noted that “Another troubling consequence of all this is that women earn less over their lifetimes so they … Read the rest

Closing the door on ineffective tax loopholes in Maine: Important challenges lay ahead

July 7, 2016 by
Jack Weiss

Jack Weiss

Maine offers 192 different tax loopholes for individuals and corporations. These tax breaks are a form of backdoor spending that cost the state almost $2.2 billion in lost state revenue in 2015. This is revenue the state could potentially use for education, healthcare, and infrastructure or to make Maine state taxes fairer by lowering taxes for struggling low- and middle-income families.

Not all tax loopholes are created equal. … Read the rest

Predatory lenders disproportionately target women, new study shows

June 29, 2016 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

It’s Shark Week. No, not the Discovery Channel’s homage to the denizens of the deep, but rather the annual media storm from consumer advocates who oppose the predatory lending practices of so-called payday lenders. Now, new research shows that women take out 60 percent of payday loans in order to make up for being laid off or having their hours cut, or to deal with health care expenses … Read the rest

BDN reports dire consequences for Maine children from LePage assault on TANF

June 23, 2016 by
Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan

In a painstakingly detailed investigation, the Bangor Daily News (BDN) has pulled back the curtain, exposing the LePage administration’s maneuvering to undermine the federally funded Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, “the federal government’s primary mechanism for delivering cash assistance and work support to low-income families with children.” The BDN found that the administration’s effort includes spending $7.8 million “in ways that run afoul of federal … Read the rest

New poll reveals overwhelming support for strict regulation of payday lenders

June 21, 2016 by
Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan

More than seven out of ten Americans want stronger regulation to rein in the predatory practices of payday lenders according to a survey released on June 15.

Payday lenders make small, short-term, unsecured loans at exorbitant interest rates (some as high as 400 percent or more) that usually come due within a few weeks after receipt of the loan. Unlike traditional bank and mortgage lenders, current federal lending … Read the rest

Maine May jobs numbers contain mixed news

June 17, 2016 by
James Myall

James Myall

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today released state employment numbers for May, revealing that Maine was among the majority of states which experienced no statistically-significant change since April in the number of people employed in the state.  Unlike residents of most states, however, Mainers are still waiting for employment levels to recover to pre-recession levels. The estimated number of individuals employed in Maine technically fell by … Read the rest

CBPP: Ryan’s “Vision for a Confident America” is less than 20/20 for Americans living in poverty

June 9, 2016 by
Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities President Robert Greenstein responded swiftly on Tuesday when US House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his long awaited plan for combating poverty, “A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America,” calling it “silent on the discrepancy between [Speaker Ryan’s] call to fight poverty and the House GOP’s own budget priorities.”

Greenstein noted that Republican budget proposals “would cut programs for low- … Read the rest

Report on “America’s Shrinking Middle Class” offers some bright spots for Maine, Lewiston-Auburn

May 27, 2016 by
James Myall 4-26-2016 website

James Myall

The Pew Research Center recently released a report, America’s Shrinking Middle Class, examining the relative proportion of lower-, middle-, and upper-income populations in 229 of the nation’s metro areas.[1] Their findings make for gloomy reading — between 2000 and 2014, the proportion of urban Americans in middle-income[2] households shrank from 55% to 51%. This is a troubling trend, as middle-class Americans are a foundation of … Read the rest

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