Child poverty fell in 2013, but median household income continues to go nowhere

September 18, 2014 by

Child poverty in Maine fell back to pre-recession levels in 2013, but income for the median household and the overall poverty rate saw no improvement, according to annual estimates released today by the US Census Bureau.

Maine has 548,000 households. Half of them have incomes above the median and half have incomes below. The Census Bureau estimates that income of the median household in Maine was $46,974 in 2013, … Read the rest

Attention: Important Census Data Ahead

September 12, 2014 by

Data Ahead 9-12-2014Next week the U.S. Census Bureau will have two major releases that will provide researchers, policymakers, the media, and the public with critically important data on poverty, income, and health insurance coverage nationally and state-by-state. On Tuesday (September 16) the bureau will unveil its Current Population Survey (CPS) and select information about health insurance coverage from its American Community Survey (ACS).  On Thursday (September 18) the bureau will release … Read the rest

A simple 1-2 punch to give working Mainers a raise

September 5, 2014 by

Increasing Maine’s earned income tax credit and raising the state’s minimum wage would go a long way toward making work pay for Maine’s families today and lay the foundation for a stronger economy tomorrow, according to new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

With wages for the typical Maine worker still well below pre-recession levels and no signs of growth in sight, lawmakers should act immediately when … Read the rest

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

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

Maine’s Real Unemployment and Jobs Picture Reflects Continuing Challenges for Maine Workers

July 29, 2014 by

Over 90,000 Mainers are still struggling to find work according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A stubbornly large number of part-time workers who want more work but can’t find it is driving this trend.

The “U6” alternative measure of unemployment, which accounts for unemployed workers who have recently stopped looking for work and workers with part-time jobs who want more work but can’t find it, … 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

Federal Court Decisions Could Impact Mainers’ Healthcare in Future

July 23, 2014 by

For the moment, people who have affordable coverage as a result of tax subsidies—including an estimated 39,000 Mainers—have nothing to fear. But two federal appellate court decisions have set the stage for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the subsidies.

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled to drastically limit the number of Americans who could qualify for federal … Read the rest

Flexible workplaces are good for Maine workers and Maine’s economy

July 10, 2014 by

Workplace flexibility policies would benefit Maine’s working families and its large population of senior workers as well as its economy. Workplace flexibility means the acceptance of adjustments to the 9-5, 40 hour in-office work week, and could include accommodations like: flexible hours; paid vacation, sick, and parental leave; job sharing; telecommuting. Maine legislators should consider legislative initiatives either to establish such policies or to incentivize employers to take the initial … Read the rest

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