New overtime regulation changes are welcome

July 2, 2015 by

“Two days ago, President Obama announced that he’s taking the easiest route to fixing this loophole. He is updating the standards so that employers cannot deny overtime pay to any worker who makes less than $50,440 annually. This is a dramatic change from the current $23,660 threshold, but it actually just brings us back to 1975 standards when adjusted for inflation.”

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Imagine a mother is … Read the rest

Budget deal includes refundable tax credits for low- and moderate-income Mainers

June 30, 2015 by

“Combined with Maine’s circuit breaker property tax relief program, which was renamed and converted to a refundable income tax credit two years ago, there will now be substantial financial incentives for low-income Mainers to file an income tax return and receive refundable credits they have coming to them. And that will mean they have more in their wallets to pay the bills or save for the future.”

The tax overhaul … Read the rest

Legislators can help working families by overriding bonds release bill veto

June 30, 2015 by

“Governor LePage has it all wrong when he says LMF is only for the rich. LMF very specifically helps working families. In particular, it keeps farm lands in production and provides waterside access for commercial fishermen so they can bring in their catch. It helps hardworking farmers and fishermen retain their livelihoods and support their families. It generates economic activity and tax revenues when out-of-state visitors come to Maine

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Protecting Mainers from unscrupulous debt collectors

June 29, 2015 by

The phone rings at 3:00 a.m. The caller identifies himself as a Florida police officer. He says that a blue American Motors Gremlin registered in your name is at the bottom of a Florida lake. Groggily the person taking the call responds, “No, we don’t own that car anymore.” The next day a collection agency calls. “No,” he repeats, “We originally bought the used Gremlin for cash, but traded it … Read the rest

Mainers win in King v. Burwell

June 26, 2015 by

ACAThe U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell ensures that over 60,000 Mainers, will continue to be able to afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), preventing their premiums from skyrocketing an average of 383%.

The Court interpreted the ACA’s purpose—to create a system in which all Americans have access to affordable health care—to mean that people living in the 34 states, including Maine, that … Read the rest

Retirement crisis: Mainers in part-time and low-wage jobs face living out their retirement years in poverty

June 24, 2015 by

“One-third of workers in America have no retirement savings and those who have savings, do not have enough to live comfortably. Of those closest to retirement (age 55-64), one in five has no pension or savings. Near-retirement households with savings have a median account balance of just $14,500. The typical working family has only $3,000 in retirement savings. Retirement prospects for low-income workers are the most dismal: just one in

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Latest Budget Deal modestly improves Maine’s tax system progressivity, future revenue adequacy less certain

June 16, 2015 by

Today, state legislators released details of a budget deal that, if passed, would avoid a state government shutdown. The deal includes significant changes to Maine’s tax code. The proposal:

  • Restructures the state’s tax brackets and rates;

  • Increases the standard deduction this year but then phases it out;

  • Phases out itemized deductions for upper income taxpayers;

  • Doubles the homestead exemption for all Maine resident homeowners;

  • Maintains the current 5.5% sales tax

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Immigrants: Honesty, not incendiary political rhetoric

June 15, 2015 by

“Governor LePage is wrong to deny Maine families the help they need to provide for basic needs as they legally wait for their applications to be processed.  To present his budget to the public by misclassifying immigrants’ legal status is an unacceptable political stunt. “

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Ongoing budget negotiations may result in denial of basic services for thousands of legal Maine residents who are temporarily prevented from … Read the rest

Another tilt at the windmill, more wasted taxpayer funds, but a win for uninsured Maine young people

June 8, 2015 by

The Supreme Court today declined to hear the LePage Administration’s appeal of a November 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the Administration’s request to cut 6,000 low-income 19- and 20-year olds’ Medicaid coverage, leaving them uninsured.  One fact is evident on its face: consigning young Mainers to the ranks of the uninsured right out of high school graduation is bad policy.  It doesn’t reflect the economic realities of … Read the rest

A crumbling road is not the route to economic growth

June 4, 2015 by

“If the governor and legislature want vibrant downtowns and a thriving economy, they must invest in our roads and highways. If they don’t want our downtowns to crack and crumble like our street surfaces, they need to tackle the grim lack of highway funding with a robust highway bond and new revenues for the highway fund. And they need to do it now.”

Early in my career, I was the … Read the rest

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