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

LePage’s Erroneous Bonds Policy Seriously Threatens Maine Hospital Finances

June 18, 2014 by

Last week, the (Lewiston) Sun Journal reported that the LePage Administration’s anti-bonding policies are forcing MaineGeneral Medical Center to pay $42 million more in interest on loans than is necessary on the construction of their new hospital in Augusta. That’s $1.4 million in avoidable interest payments annually for 30 years.

MHHEFAThe legislature created the Maine Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority (MHHEFA) to allow entities like hospitals, nursing homes, public … Read the rest

State Income Tax Revenue Falls as Bill for 2011 Income Tax Cuts Comes Due

June 11, 2014 by

Four years after Maine Revenue Services (MRS) and the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office put a $166 million price tag on Governor LePage’s income tax cut, an enormous decline in FY 2014 state income tax revenue appears to be validating their estimates. State income tax revenue through the first 10 months of fiscal year 2014 is $109 million—or 8.9%— lower than it was last year, according to the State Controller’s latest … Read the rest

Everything comes with a cost: the perilous (and unnecessary) fate of the Portland Free Clinic

June 4, 2014 by

Despite the historic opportunity offered by the federal funds available to expand Medicaid to cover Maine’s uninsured, millions of dollars earmarked for our state have been lost – more than $143 million since January 1 -repudiated in a din of partisan politics.  The governor vetoed majority votes in favor of Medicaid expansion five times.  But decisions have consequences – and one of the consequences might be the future of the … Read the rest

What you should know about the Cutler property tax relief plan

April 15, 2014 by

Today, Eliot Cutler released a plan for providing property tax relief to Maine residents. The center piece is a dramatic increase in Maine’s homestead exemption program, elimination of revenue sharing as we know it, and a new approach to channeling revenue collected by the state to towns and cities.

The basic premise is that Mainers increasingly feel the bite of property tax increases and that our current three pronged approach … 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

Question 3 – Maine’s aged bridges need repair

October 30, 2013 by

You know the old line, “In Maine, driving is better in the winter because the potholes get filled with snow.” Mainers have always grumbled about road conditions.

It turns out we have something to complain about. Only it’s our bridges. Maine ranks 9th in the country for the worst bridge conditions. Of our 2,408 bridges, 356 or nearly 15% have structural defects.

When Mainers go the polls on … 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

Congressional Fiscal Shenanigans: O. Henry or Stanley Kubrick?

October 1, 2013 by

After weeks of gamesmanship, a minority in Congress succeeded in shutting down the federal government at midnight.  The full impact here in Maine is still uncertain.

We do know that on the cusp of peak leaf-peeping season, Acadia National Park will close and businesses on Mount Desert and throughout the surrounding area will feel the pain. Chris Fogg, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce told … Read the rest

Beware the Bogus Business Ranking Redux

October 1, 2013 by

In December 2011, I wrote the blog post below in response to Forbes magazine’s “Best States for Business” list of that year. Now, for the fourth year in a row, Maine again ranks at the bottom of the magazine’s ranking. While the Maine media is engaged in a feeding frenzy to assign blame, they once again fail to grasp the real issue with the Forbes model: it is a … Read the rest

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