A Divide and Conquer Strategy that Risks the Health of Maine’s Seniors and Working Poor

August 5, 2014 by

The classic “divide and conquer” strategy,  often attributed to cunning Julius Caesar, operates on the premise that pitting your adversaries against each other before you strike  is one sure path to victory. In a recent press release heralding $25.4 million in excess MaineCare funds now available to shore up struggling nursing homes, the LePage Administration appears to be following Caesar’s formula.

This funding is great news for nursing homes in … 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

Taxes Have Little Effect on People’s Decisions about What State to Live In

May 8, 2014 by

A lengthy and exhaustive new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities confirms what reality-based analysts have known for a long time: state taxes do not weigh heavily in people’s decisions about where to live and work.

Among the report’s conclusions, most of which will be familiar to folks who have been following this issue:

  • A very small fraction—no more than 2 percent—of Americans move to another state
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

New Report Highlights How the Affordable Care Act Helps Close Affordability Gap

September 25, 2013 by

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This week the Kaiser Family Foundation released “An Early Look at Premiums and Insurer Participation in Health Insurance Marketplaces, 2014.” The report provides a summary of health insurance costs before and after federal Affordable Care Act subsidies kick-in for individuals who obtain coverage through the federal health exchange or health insurance marketplace. The premium for one of the middle-tier or “silver” plans for a 25 year-old, … Read the rest

An Open Letter to Governor LePage

June 13, 2013 by

Dear Governor LePage,

You’ve got a jobs problem.

Since you took office, Maine ranks 46th in job growth and 47th in state economic growth. We’re last in New England in job growth and more than 100,000 Maine people are looking for work or are in search of full-time work.

You’ve got an unprecedented opportunity to improve Maine’s job picture. This isn’t theory, it’s fact.

What would you do Read the rest

8 Points about the “Gang of 11” Tax Plan

May 9, 2013 by

Tax reform must do more for working families and to ensure funds to educate our children, build strong communities, and grow Maine’s economy

Recently a group of eleven legislators (five Republicans, five Democrats, and one Independent) has introduced sweeping legislation that according to the Bangor Daily News “slices the state’s individual income tax rate to a flat 4 percent — the highest rate now is 7.95 percent — and eliminates … Read the rest

Higher Education Equals Better-Paying Jobs

March 25, 2013 by

We all know it. The surest path out of poverty is a good job with benefits. But to get one of these good-paying jobs, Mainers need more education and training. To give low-income workers the skills they need, Maine must expand access to higher education.

The data are clear. States with lower levels of education have higher rates of unemployment and poverty. Yet Maine continues to fall behind many … Read the rest

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