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

Federal legislation would protect payday lending industry at the expense of Maine consumers

March 9, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015MECEP has joined hundreds of civil rights, consumer, labor, faith, veterans, seniors, and community organizations across the nation to strongly urge its Congressional Delegation to oppose H.R. 4018, the “Consumer Protection and Choice Act.”

Don’t let its title mislead you. This bill has nothing to do with protecting consumers.

This proposed legislation would upend a federal process underway to protect Mainers from abusive payday lenders. This bill will hurt … Read the rest

Wither our roads?

February 24, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015

“Reversing the decline in state investment in transportation, public buildings, water treatment systems, and other forms of vital infrastructure is key to creating good jobs and promoting full economic recovery…”

Center for Budget and Policy PrioritiesIt’s Time for States to Invest in Infrastructure, February 2016

Pothole-MEWith mud season right around the corner, our roads will once again be awash in pot holes knocking auto front-ends out of … Read the rest

Trade agreement threatens Maine jobs and wages

February 9, 2016 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015As early as this month, Congress will vote up or down whether or not to enter into the Transatlantic Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, a treaty that some call “NAFTA* on steroids”. MECEP submitted testimony to the U.S. International Trade Commission outlining the dangers the treaty poses to Maine’s economy.

Maine’s emblematic fishing industry provides one example of how the TPP agreement will contribute to job loss and increase wage … Read the rest

Employment trends threaten the economic security of working families

December 30, 2015 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015As if employment opportunities for low-income workers weren’t bleak enough―low-wages, no retirement savings, no health insurance―now these workers face a complete breakdown of the traditional employer-employee relationship that historically provided for safe working conditions, income protections, and economic security.

Nearly 33% of Maine working families are low-income. That means 40,000 Maine households with at least one child have at least one member who is working and … Read the rest

Shop ‘til you drop ― It’s no holiday for retail workers

December 2, 2015 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015Too many Mainers today work too few hours for too low pay. The data show over and over and over how part-time, low-wage, and benefit-less jobs trap people in poverty, make it hard for working families to pay their bills, and discourage their aspirations for education and opportunity.

In addition to low wages, retail and other service-sector workers struggle with precarious work schedules.

Work Schedules 12-2-2015 blog

According to one study, 17% of … Read the rest

New high school equivalency test providing opportunity for hundreds of Mainers

August 6, 2015 by

Over 400 Mainers who would have been passed over by the traditional GED received their high school diplomas in 2014. That’s 400 more Mainers who now have a better opportunity for a job to support themselves and their families.

It’s because Maine dropped the traditional GED and opted for a new high school equivalency test, Hi-SET™, produced by the nonprofit Educational Testing Service (ETS).

The GED was created for WWII … Read the rest

Legislators can help working families by overriding bonds release bill veto

June 30, 2015 by

“Governor LePage has it all wrong when he says LMF is only for the rich. LMF very specifically helps working families. In particular, it keeps farm lands in production and provides waterside access for commercial fishermen so they can bring in their catch. It helps hardworking farmers and fishermen retain their livelihoods and support their families. It generates economic activity and tax revenues when out-of-state visitors come to Maine

Read the rest

Protecting Mainers from unscrupulous debt collectors

June 29, 2015 by

The phone rings at 3:00 a.m. The caller identifies himself as a Florida police officer. He says that a blue American Motors Gremlin registered in your name is at the bottom of a Florida lake. Groggily the person taking the call responds, “No, we don’t own that car anymore.” The next day a collection agency calls. “No,” he repeats, “We originally bought the used Gremlin for cash, but traded it … Read the rest

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