CFPB takes first step with new federal payday lending rule, but Maine must be on guard

October 6, 2017 by

Jody Harris

Just yesterday, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a new rule that will reduce the harm to Maine families of short-term payday lending. But the new consumer finance protections are already under attack by the very lenders who profit from this kind of predatory lending. It is now more important than ever that our congressional delegation and state legislators pass and strengthen laws that protect Maine … 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

General Assistance directive is penny wise, pound foolish

July 25, 2014 by

This June, Governor LePage directed municipalities to stop giving General Assistance funds to undocumented immigrants or risk losing state funding of General Assistance. While LePage may tout this instruction as “welfare reform,” the reality is this directive is bad for Maine citizens and immigrants alike.

In order to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving General Assistance, municipalities would have to demand proof of citizenship from everyone applying for General Assistance. As … Read the rest

Good news, bad news

February 5, 2014 by

Maine state government ranked above average for its sound budgeting practices in a report released yesterday by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. But, while Maine is better than many states at fiscal planning, there’s more we can do, especially around evaluating tax breaks for lucrative out-of-state corporations.

The good news: On a scale of 10, Maine ranked 7 for doing prudent things like producing an independent forecast of … Read the rest

When small is mighty BIG!

October 18, 2013 by

IFA poster 10-18-2013Robert Reich is short, four feet, eleven inches to be precise. I mention his height because the former labor secretary and current professor at the University of California Berkeley makes it an integral part of the presentation in his thought provoking new documentary, Inequality for All, currently showing at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville.

When Reich speaks about the ever-widening income gap in America between the uber-rich … Read the rest

Buy Local; Invest in Maine People

December 8, 2012 by

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” ―Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas

It’s easy to get mired in the holidays. We stand in line, wait in traffic, and get pushed around in stores. But like the Grinch finally realizes, the holidays could be a little bit more.

During the holidays we can shop at … Read the rest