Why tax conformity really matters to Maine teachers and families

February 12, 2016 by

Sarah Austin blog 11-16-2015

“Propping up a tax break that reimburses teachers less than $20 as a true means of offering relief to teachers, who by the way spend on average $513 on school supplies each year, is just wrong. The reality is that legislators are not debating this meager tax break for teachers. The tax conformity provisions for teachers, students, and homeowners have vast bi-partisan support.”

The Maine Department of Administration and Finance … Read the rest

Is Maine’s current job creation strategy “off base”?

February 10, 2016 by

Mark Sullivan blog 11-16-2015Analysis in a new report (State Job Creation Strategies Often Off Base) from our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) concludes that:

“To create jobs and build strong economies, states should focus on producing more home-grown entrepreneurs and on helping startups and young, fast-growing firms already located in the state to survive and to grow ― not on cutting taxes and trying to lure

Read the rest

Trade agreement threatens Maine jobs and wages

February 9, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015As early as this month, Congress will vote up or down whether or not to enter into the Transatlantic Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, a treaty that some call “NAFTA* on steroids”. MECEP submitted testimony to the U.S. International Trade Commission outlining the dangers the treaty poses to Maine’s economy.

Maine’s emblematic fishing industry provides one example of how the TPP agreement will contribute to job loss and increase wage … Read the rest

MHPC “Piglet Book” ignores administration mismanagement and misses the real scandal: millions of lost and rejected federal funds

February 8, 2016 by

“Weeding out authentic waste, fraud, and abuse is a laudable goal, but to overlook hundreds of millions of dollars in lost federal funds, as the MHPC report does, reflects the priorities of the LePage administration—scoring partisan, ideological points at the expense of Maine taxpayers, Maine’s economy, and Maine families, seniors, children and others at risk.”

Commenting on the release of the 2016 edition of Maine Heritage Policy Center’s (MHPC) Piglet Read the rest

Latest employment figures paint a poor picture for Maine’s economy in 2015 and beyond

January 26, 2016 by

James Myall website

The latest figures released by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reinforce a persistent trend for Maine’s economy.  The state continues to struggle to recover from the Great Recession, and the labor market, in particular, lags behind.

The latest release of monthly data for December 2015, shows that Maine’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stands at 4.0% – below the national average of 5.0%.  Initially, this appears to be good news, … Read the rest

Why state lottery odds are never in Mainers’ favor

January 19, 2016 by

James Myall websiteIt’s hard to imagine a tax that people would line up to pay; a tax so enticing it would be the topic of conversation week after week. But that’s exactly what the Maine State Lottery is; and what’s more, it’s an inefficient tax that disproportionately affects the poor.

For 40 years, the lottery has effectively taken money from Maine’s poorest and placed it into the state’s General Fund. “Hope for … Read the rest

Focus on sales tax increases obscures the reality of a better deal for Maine people

January 11, 2016 by

Garrett Martin blog 11-16-2015Last year’s budget deal reduced taxes for 83% of Mainers. But the changes don’t happen all at once. And as the Maine media has reported, new sales taxes, potentially some of the least popular provisions of the bipartisan deal, went into effect on January 1. Taxpayers won’t fully realize more popular provisions – income tax cuts for nearly 9 out of every 10 Maine families and property tax cuts … Read the rest

Employment trends threaten the economic security of working families

December 30, 2015 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015As if employment opportunities for low-income workers weren’t bleak enough―low-wages, no retirement savings, no health insurance―now these workers face a complete breakdown of the traditional employer-employee relationship that historically provided for safe working conditions, income protections, and economic security.

Nearly 33% of Maine working families are low-income. That means 40,000 Maine households with at least one child have at least one member who is working and … Read the rest

Governor LePage ignores the value of land conservation to Maine’s economy

December 21, 2015 by

James Myall websiteGov. LePage recently announced that he will belatedly sign off on multiple voter approved bond issues for the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, but he remains an outspoken critic of the program.  At a December 17 Waterville “town hall” meeting, the governor said that he “hates” the LMF program and that the recent bond release does not indicate he has “changed his mind.” In the past week, LePage has … Read the rest

Maine’s lower unemployment rate not necessarily good news

December 18, 2015 by

James Myall websiteState Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette today released the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) statewide workforce estimates for November. The headline touts a drop in unemployment to 4.1%, “the lowest since 2002.” If this appears to be cause for celebration – not so fast. Although the number of unemployed workers in Maine has been dropping steadily over the last five years (from a high of 58,000, or 8.3% … Read the rest

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