Maine’s Working Families Deserve to Earn a Living Wage

August 27, 2014 by

The new report by the Alliance for a Just Society, “Families Out of Balance: How a living wage helps families move from debt to stability,” provides sobering data about how much Mainers must earn just to make ends meet.

Simply put, wages in Maine are insufficient to cover the cost of living – and even though the recession is officially over, too many people remain under- or un-employed.  The … Read the rest

LePage Proposal Will Exacerbate Maine’s Hunger Crisis

August 19, 2014 by

The facts are shocking. In the U.S. today, 1 in 7 Americans―more than 46 million people, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors―rely on food pantries and food kitchens to eat.

Of the households trying to stave off hunger,

  • 4% have someone in their home in active military service.
  • 34% have at least one member working.
  • 55% have unpaid medical bills.
  • 66% have stopped buying medicine in order to
Read the rest

July jobs report: Maine continues to lag US, New England recovery

August 18, 2014 by

The July jobs report, released today, raises continued concerns about the strength of Maine’s economic recovery. The state’s July unemployment rate of 5.5 percent remains unchanged from a month ago and is below the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.2 percent for July. That’s good, but today’s data also shows Maine losing ground in terms of job growth.

Maine dropped 900 jobs from the adjusted figures for June including 600 … Read the rest

More Data to Consider as Portland Debates Raising Its Minimum Wage

August 13, 2014 by

Late last month, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan announced the initial details of his plan to raise the city’s minimum wage. If passed, the bill would likely raise the wage from its current $7.50/hour to $9.50/hour in January 2015, with anticipated hikes following in each of the next two years.

The final fate of the proposal is still at least a few months away, but one thing is certain from … Read the rest

A Divide and Conquer Strategy that Risks the Health of Maine’s Seniors and Working Poor

August 5, 2014 by

The classic “divide and conquer” strategy,  often attributed to cunning Julius Caesar, operates on the premise that pitting your adversaries against each other before you strike  is one sure path to victory. In a recent press release heralding $25.4 million in excess MaineCare funds now available to shore up struggling nursing homes, the LePage Administration appears to be following Caesar’s formula.

This funding is great news for nursing homes in … Read the rest

State revenue in FY 2014 was slightly higher than expected but 2011 tax cuts keep revenues well below pre-recession levels

August 1, 2014 by

Total General Fund revenue for the state fiscal year ending in June 2014 was $3,113,496,933, which was $39 million (1.3%) more than expected, according to the revenue report released Thursday by the State Controller’s Office.

The General Fund is the primary pool of money that the state uses to pay its share of everything ranging from health care and K-12 education to courts and conservation. It is important to remember … Read the rest