Property tax relief falls short in 2013, major policy changes still needed

June 27, 2014 by

The amount of property tax relief Maine residents claimed under a new state tax credit will fall $9-12 million short of the $34 million forecast, according to the most recent monthly revenue update from Acting Finance Commissioner Richard Rosen.

In 2013, the legislature created the Property Tax Fairness Credit (PTFC) to replace the longstanding Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Relief Program (also known as the “Circuit Breaker”). This change, … Read the rest

Percy Spencer’s Candy Bar: Health Care Reform and the Innovation Economy

June 24, 2014 by

Health Care Reform and InnovationYesterday, my scientist brother promised my eight-year-old son a new Hot Wheels car if he could research and explain how the microwave cooked his lunch.  My son vanished upstairs and came back triumphantly explaining how a scientist named Percy Spencer noticed the candy bar in his pocket melted after he stood next to an active radar set.  Mr. Spencer came back later with popcorn kernels in his pocket, and sure … Read the rest

What to Look for in Friday’s Jobs Report

June 19, 2014 by

Tomorrow, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly state-by-state jobs and employment report. While the data are subject to revision and should be viewed with some skepticism, they help paint a picture of how Maine’s employment situation stacks up relative to other states.

In all likelihood, the story will remain much the same as it has been in recent months. Maine’s unemployment rate will likely … Read the rest

LePage’s Erroneous Bonds Policy Seriously Threatens Maine Hospital Finances

June 18, 2014 by

Last week, the (Lewiston) Sun Journal reported that the LePage Administration’s anti-bonding policies are forcing MaineGeneral Medical Center to pay $42 million more in interest on loans than is necessary on the construction of their new hospital in Augusta. That’s $1.4 million in avoidable interest payments annually for 30 years.

MHHEFAThe legislature created the Maine Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority (MHHEFA) to allow entities like hospitals, nursing homes, public … Read the rest

State Income Tax Revenue Falls as Bill for 2011 Income Tax Cuts Comes Due

June 11, 2014 by

Four years after Maine Revenue Services (MRS) and the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office put a $166 million price tag on Governor LePage’s income tax cut, an enormous decline in FY 2014 state income tax revenue appears to be validating their estimates. State income tax revenue through the first 10 months of fiscal year 2014 is $109 million—or 8.9%— lower than it was last year, according to the State Controller’s latest … Read the rest

Jobs Recovery Nationally Showing Promise, But Maine Still Lags Far Behind

June 6, 2014 by

Today’s national jobs report highlights an important milestone. As a nation, we have recovered 101 percent of jobs lost during the recession. Clearly we are headed in the right direction but the recovery – especially here in Maine – is far from complete.

For starters, as our colleagues at the Economic Policy Institute point out, while we’ve recovered more than 100 percent of jobs lost, we’ve also grown our population … Read the rest

Everything comes with a cost: the perilous (and unnecessary) fate of the Portland Free Clinic

June 4, 2014 by

Despite the historic opportunity offered by the federal funds available to expand Medicaid to cover Maine’s uninsured, millions of dollars earmarked for our state have been lost – more than $143 million since January 1 -repudiated in a din of partisan politics.  The governor vetoed majority votes in favor of Medicaid expansion five times.  But decisions have consequences – and one of the consequences might be the future of the … Read the rest