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

Federal grants now available for local food initiatives

March 17, 2015 by

Local Farms-Local FoodsFBCongresswoman Chellie Pingree today announced the availability of new grants to support local agriculture under legislation she sponsored, the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, enacted as part of the recent farm bill legislation.

“This is money that is going to help the local food economy grow and expand in Maine and around the country,” Pingree said in a press release. “And every dollar that is spent locally is a … Read the rest

Health coverage for thousands of working Mainers at risk in Supreme Court case

March 16, 2015 by

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments recently in the King v. Burwell case, and a lot is riding on the outcome, especially for Maine. The court will be deciding on whether Congress intended the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide subsidies to states like Maine that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges. If the court decides in favor of King and the other plaintiffs, exchange-enrolled Mainers now … Read the rest

Mainers dislike payday lenders

March 11, 2015 by

You know the ones. They flood the TV airwaves and fill your e-mail inbox with ads promising fast, painless cash to tide you over until the next pay check, pension check, tax refund, or structured settlement comes. They tout themselves as lending a helping hand if you’re short of money. They approve your credit instantly; no waiting. They promise fast, easy, painless cash.

If it sounds too good to be … Read the rest

Higher Education Cuts Jeopardize Students’ and Maine’s Economic Future

March 9, 2015 by

by Jody Harris and Christy Daggett

As lawmakers gather today to review the state’s higher education budgets, they should consider how a lack of investment in education has stifled Maine’s economy.

Fifty-seven percent of Maine’s college-going seniors enroll in our public institutions[i]―either a University of Maine campus, community college, or the maritime academy―and over 200,000 Maine adults have some college credits but not enough for a degree.[ii]Read the rest

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