CFPB takes first step with new federal payday lending rule, but Maine must be on guard

October 6, 2017 by

Jody Harris

Just yesterday, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a new rule that will reduce the harm to Maine families of short-term payday lending. But the new consumer finance protections are already under attack by the very lenders who profit from this kind of predatory lending. It is now more important than ever that our congressional delegation and state legislators pass and strengthen laws that protect Maine … Read the rest

Trump-GOP tax framework: A windfall for the wealthy, little left for most Mainers

October 4, 2017 by

Sarah Austin

The U.S. House tomorrow and the Senate in two weeks are expected to vote on their respective budget resolutions that will chart a course to enact President Trump’s proposed tax plan with simple majorities in each chamber. The Trump tax proposal is unprecedented in terms of how severely tilted the tax breaks are toward millionaires and billionaires. Two-thirds of the tax benefits next year would be slated for … Read the rest

SNAP turns 40: Providing sustenance for working poor families

September 29, 2017 by

Jody Harris

Friday, September 29 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1977 Food Stamp Act, the landmark law that established the nation’s modern anti-hunger program—as it’s now known, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Forty years on and Mainers, especially Maine’s working poor families, struggle more now they than ever before in the SNAP program’s history to get food assistance due to misguided and dangerous state policies.

While SNAP … Read the rest

For thousands of sick low-income Mainers, Medicaid Expansion is their only hope for affordable care

September 28, 2017 by

James Myall

The November ballot question to expand Medicaid coverage to Mainers living below or near poverty will allow more than 70,000 people access to affordable health care. MECEP’s recent report, The State of Working Maine 2017, demonstrates just how important good public health is to a healthy economy.

Since 2001, tens of thousands of Mainers of prime working age have left the work force, and these “lost workers” … Read the rest

Out of work, out of hope – This is what a depressed economy looks like

September 21, 2017 by

James Myall

Tens of thousands of Mainers disheartened by the dim prospects of good paying, middle-class jobs have given up looking for work. Some are discouraged to the point of despair, turning to substance misuse and even suicide. That’s the stark and somber finding of MECEP’s latest report, The State of Working Maine 2017.

Using numerous data sets and incorporating the latest national research, the State of Working MaineRead the rest

Women have the right to vote, but still don’t get equal pay for equal work

August 26, 2017 by
Sarah Austin

Sarah Austin

Today marks the anniversary of the 19th Amendment which granted white women the constitutional right to vote. The Equal Pay Act of 1963, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 are just some of the laws that have extended protections against

discrimination for women since the passage of the 19th amendment. Yet, there is still more progress to be made … Read the rest

In Maine, higher education tuition hikes and reduced quality threaten economic future 

August 24, 2017 by
James Myall

James Myall

The Maine Center for Economic Policy’s (MECEP) analysis of a report released by the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities (CBPP) reveals that Maine students at four-year public colleges still bear too high a burden for higher education. Since the Great Recession, tuition at Maine’s public colleges and universities have increased by $1,198 or 14.1 percent over the past decade. Maine also ranks 21st in the country for … Read the rest

Pine Tree Development Zones fail to create quality jobs in areas of need 

August 23, 2017 by
Sarah Austin

Sarah Austin

As part of a multiyear review of business tax credits, the state’s government accountability office reported today that the Pine Tree Development Zone (PTDZ) program does not live up to its promise of creating good jobs in higher unemployment areas. 

Pine tree development zones, sometimes called enterprise or opportunity zones in other parts of the country, designate geographic areas in need of jobs and economic development and offer … Read the rest

#DefendDACA: Dreamers are good for jobs and the economy 

August 23, 2017 by
Marpheen Chann

Marpheen Chann

New Mainers are part of the solution to Maine’s demographic problems and help us fill labor needs. Beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or “Dreamers”, are those who came to America as minors, have built and maintained their lives here, and know no other place as home. That is why we need to stop the efforts to dismantle DACA and allow Dreamers to fully participate and … Read the rest

Proposed RAISE act immigration limits would harm Maine’s economy

August 4, 2017 by

Marpheen Chann

President Trump’s proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (Raise) Act, currently pending in Congress, will put into place a poorly designed points-based system that would limit the number of working-age immigrants that Maine needs to fill jobs. 

The proposal would halve the number of lawful, permanent immigrants coming into the U.S. each year and limit the ability of their relatives to join them. It would also cap the admittance … Read the rest

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