Maine lawmakers need to protect student loan borrowers

June 23, 2017 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

A new report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) highlights another way that the very companies that are supposed to be helping Maine student loan borrowers are cheating them.  The CFPB says that some lenders are wrongly denying access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to eligible teachers, nurses, and first responders.

And Maine lawmakers, influenced by these same companies, have backed away from legislation … Read the rest

An outcry for payday lending reform

October 18, 2016 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

When MECEP joined a dozen nonprofit labor, business, senior, economic justice, and community organizations from Maine to call for stronger federal consumer protections against predatory payday lenders, we didn’t know we were enlisting in a movement!

But consumers from across the country poured out their stories to federal regulators about being fleeced by payday lenders. In fact, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) received 425,000 public comments supporting … Read the rest

Responsible Lending; Responsible Borrowing

September 1, 2016 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

Jack Weiss

Jack Weiss

What do people do when they need money quickly? Their car needs costly repairs so they can get to work. A medical emergency has resulted in a hefty bill. The furnace is broken, and the temperature is dropping.

Many Mainers turn to payday lenders for fast loans. But while they’re easy and fast to obtain, payday loans come at a high price—with interest rates topping 200%Read the rest

Failure to invest in Maine’s future is the real fiscal negligence

August 8, 2016 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

We all want a financially sound state government, but Governor LePage seems bent on undermining our public services in the name of fiscal integrity.

His most recent remarks bemoaning the unavailability of state surplus funds because of the so-called “cascade” follow his attempt this spring to move a $72 million surplus into the Budget Stabilization Fund. The governor’s statements are not only contrary to prudent budget management, … Read the rest

How payday lenders skirt the law

July 20, 2016 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

The facts about how payday lenders trap working families in debt are shocking:

Read the rest

Predatory lenders disproportionately target women, new study shows

June 29, 2016 by
Jody Harris

Jody Harris

It’s Shark Week. No, not the Discovery Channel’s homage to the denizens of the deep, but rather the annual media storm from consumer advocates who oppose the predatory lending practices of so-called payday lenders. Now, new research shows that women take out 60 percent of payday loans in order to make up for being laid off or having their hours cut, or to deal with health care expenses … Read the rest

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

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

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

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

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