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

Demystifying Maine’s school funding formula to show how Question 2 will move our students to the head of the class

October 17, 2016 by
Sarah Austin

Sarah Austin

Question 2 on this November’s ballot increases revenue for education by $159 million a year. The state would distribute revenue raised through the existing state funding formula, and state funding would reach  55 percent of statewide education costs, a funding benchmark Maine voters mandated in 2004. Fully 94 percent of Maine students live in districts likely to receive increased state funding if Question 2 passes. Question 2 would … Read the rest

New MECEP report: Question 2 will raise more than $150 million annually to invest in student learning

September 20, 2016 by
Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan

On November 8, Maine voters will consider Question 2, a ballot initiative that would roll back recent tax breaks for the wealthy and dedicate this revenue to provide additional state level resources for schools. In our new report, Moving Maine Students to the Head of the Class, MECEP’s research and analysis concluded that the proposed three percent tax on income above $200,000 dedicated to K-12 education will … Read the rest

Mounting evidence reinforces the case for accepting federal funds to improve health care access and affordability in Maine

September 6, 2016 by
James Myall

James Myall

Several recent studies and analyses of the 31 states that have accepted federal money to increase access to health care demonstrate the continued benefits of doing so. The research confirms that Medicaid expansion is a win-win-win – good for patients, good for the states, and good for everyone with private health insurance.

An August 8 study by researchers at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard 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

Faster internet speeds, wider availability would boost Maine’s economy

August 31, 2016 by
James Myall

James Myall

If it took a while for your internet service provider (ISP) to load this page onto your computer, you’re not alone. Maine has some of the slowest broadband connections in the nation.

High-speed internet is rapidly becoming a key driver of economic growth, nurturing high-tech jobs, allowing individuals to telecommute, and opening up new opportunities in health care and education. With Maine standing at, or near, the bottom … Read the rest

Increasing the minimum wage to $12 will raise the annual pay of 93,000 Maine women by an average of $3,200

August 19, 2016 by
Sarah Austin

Sarah Austin

This November, Mainers will vote on an initiative that would gradually raise Maine’s minimum wage from $7.50 to $12 an hour by 2020. The effects of the initiative would be broad, including raising wages for 1 in 3 working Mainers by 2020 when the $12 minimum wage would be fully phased in. But, the advantages it offers for Maine women of all ages, including seniors and young girls, … Read the rest

Augusta’s adherence to austerity holds Maine back

August 15, 2016 by
James Myall

James Myall

Conservative fiscal policies at the state and national level have been a key cause of the lackluster economic recovery following the Great Recession, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). EPI’s findings are especially relevant for Maine; while EPI cites the post-2009 recovery as one of the longest on record, Maine’s recovery has been even slower. The U.S. economy recovered its pre-Recession employment levels … Read the rest

Let’s make sure that every Mainer who aspires to succeed can go back to school

August 10, 2016 by
Jack Weiss

Jack Weiss

With summer beginning to wind down, thousands of Mainers are getting ready to go back to school. This September, Maine’s post-secondary schools—colleges, universities, and community colleges across the state—are preparing for an influx of students as Maine’s high school graduation rate continues to climb upward. But as the images of wide-eyed, young, and eager freshman dominate commercials for the Best Buy, The GAP and U-Haul Rentals, it … 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

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