Will Congress leave poor Maine kids hungrier and less ready to learn?

April 28, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015Just when you thought Congress has finally gotten something right, they disappoint once again.

I am talking about the national school meal programs. Congress assumed correctly that if more than 40% of students in a school automatically qualified for free or reduced lunch, there were likely a lot more hungry kids besides those enrolled in the program. And in 2014, under the community eligibility provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free … Read the rest

Congress must stop taxing workers without children into poverty

April 26, 2016 by

Megan Michaud blog 11-16-2015Workers without children – including non-custodial parents (who do not have custody of their children for the purposes of their tax filing) – are the only taxpayers that the federal tax code pushes into or deeper into poverty. Lawmakers in both parties agree the problem needs a fix and even agree on how to do it. Republicans and Democrats have similar proposals to fix the existing gap in the Earned … Read the rest

Maine solar legislation is nothing like Chinese energy policy – which is a pity

April 25, 2016 by

“It sounds absurd, but the Chinese plan is more sensible, more cost-effective and much less draconian than the Legislature’s bill for solar power.” 

Governor Paul LePage radio address, April 20, 2016

James Myall 4-26-2016 websiteGovernor Paul LePage’s most recent attack on solar energy in Maine invoked an unlikely partner for the conservative chief executive – the Chinese Communist Party.  The governor cited China’s plan for carbon emissions reduction following his veto of a … Read the rest

Payday loans continue to injure consumers

April 22, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015This week MECEP urged federal regulators to establish strong protections against abuses by payday lenders. Their loosely regulated, short-term, unsecured loans trap people in a cycle of debt. These predatory lenders especially target seniors, veterans, women, and low-income Mainers, forcing them deeper into poverty.

A new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report, Online Payday Loan Payments, proves how on-line payday loans financially harm consumers beyond high interest rates. They … Read the rest

Income inequality and provision of public services a matter of life and death

April 20, 2016 by

James Myall 4-26-2016 websiteA new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers further evidence of the effects of income inequality on health and well-being.  Using data from the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, a team of economists tracked the life expectancy of US residents from 2001 through 2014, and found that, of adults over 40, the bottom 1% of earners had a life expectancy almost 15 … Read the rest

Maine continues to lag behind in job creation

April 15, 2016 by

James Myall 4-26-2016 websiteThe latest State & Local Area Unemployment Statistics are in from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the difference between the Maine and national economies couldn’t be clearer.  While the White House announced its 73rd month of straight job growth, Maine still hasn’t recovered all the jobs lost during the recession.

Since 2010, the number of people employed in the private sector in the US has risen … Read the rest

Child care in Maine is getting more expensive; while the governor jeopardizes its safety and federal funds that help parents pay for it

April 14, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015


A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute concluded that child care is staggeringly unaffordable for Maine families. Yet Governor LePage’s recent action jeopardizes federal funds that help low-income families pay for child care while also undermining measures to protect Maine kids’ safety.

Child care 4-14-2016 graphicThe facts are shocking:

  • Infant care in Maine costs more per year than in-state tuition for 4-year public college.
  • Infant care for one child would take
Read the rest

New report affirms education and infrastructure as foundations of a strong state economy

April 13, 2016 by

Sarah Austin blog 11-16-2015The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a report today that details a roadmap for stronger state economies. Central to the CBPP proven prescriptions for economic growth are strengthening education and infrastructure systems.  To pay for these priorities, CBPP recommends policy corrections to reduce unnecessary spending and increase revenue from high income individuals and corporations.

Since the recession, budget cuts to the education system at every level have … Read the rest

Economic Data Tell Consistent Story that Maine’s Recovery is Far From Complete

April 1, 2016 by

James Myall 4-26-2016 websiteDespite the recent fanfare about Maine’s low headline employment rate, the state’s economy has still not fully recovered from the effects of the Great Recession, some eight years on. A variety of economic data demonstrates that Maine’s economy is smaller than it was in 2007, and while some of these data are consistent with the slow recovery in the U.S. as a whole, Maine’s picture is particularly troubling. The policies … Read the rest

Thousands of Maine’s Poorest Residents Are Left to Go Hungry

April 1, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015In Maine, some of our poorest neighbors have lost a critical tool to help them get enough to eat each day.

In 1996, Congress dictated that able-bodied childless adults must work in order to get food assistance. States are allowed to seek a waiver to suspend this requirement in places where there are limited job opportunities.

Since 2014, Governor LePage has chosen to ignore the waiver provision. Maine limits federal … Read the rest