In my last post, I discussed how MECEP’s recently released report, The State of Working Maine in 2013, delves beyond the official monthly employment reports for more revealing data about how many Maine workers continue to struggle to find full time jobs. But having a job is only part of the equation.
More than 3,500 unemployed Mainers will lose critical economic support for themselves and their families if Congress allows emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) to expire on December 28th, according to the Maine Department of Labor.
On the first Friday of each month (unless there’s a government shutdown), the Department of Labor releases the official national unemployment report. The results often lead the nightly news and provide headlines in the next day’s newspapers. Financial markets and political polls rise and fall on these findings. In Maine, there is a similar, if more subdued, reaction around the middle of the month upon release of the official state unemployment figures.
State General Fund revenue for the two-year period that began in July 2013 (Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015) will be about $20.6 million (0.3%) higher than previously forecast, according to the latest report from the state’s forecasting committee. The general fund is the primary source of state funding for education, health care, public safety and corrections, and conservation and natural resources.
As of this week, more than half of the fifty states had already seen their 2013 legislative sessions adjourn. In many of those that are still going, budget debates are front and center as lawmakers race to the finish line. In some states, issues that had previously been pushed to the backburner are back on the front one, in others, major provisions are being inserted into the budget at the midnight hour, and everywhere, final showdowns are shaping up as sessions wind down.
Taxes are on the minds of many this week as April 15th approaches. They're also on the minds of many conservative governors -- in states such as Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Nebraska -- who have seen their radical tax proposals to further enrich corporations and the wealthy run into major resistance from voters, businesses, and even conservative lawmakers. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who this week withdrew his regressive plan that would have eliminated the state income tax while raising the sales tax, has seen his standing drop sharply in the polls. In the run up to Tax Day, increasing attention is being focused on how tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations increase burdens on the middle class.
Progressive States Network Board Member and former Maine Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree was a guest on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes on Sunday May 13, 2012 (Mother's Day) discussing how state and federal policy affects moms — with her mom, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME).
Maine state Rep. Sharon Anglin Treat, D-Hallowell, walked out of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday after listening to the first round of oral arguments over President Obama's health care law and shook her head at the contrast. Inside the august chamber, where Treat snared a third-row seat after getting in line at 5:20 a.m., the justices quizzed all sides on fine legal points as the rapt audience looked on.
As the world marks the 101st International Women’s Day, more and more American women are finding their own health under rhetorical and legislative attack in the halls of Congress, on radio airwaves, and in state after state. From attempts to defund organizations providing women with basic health services, to placing intrusive and often humiliating obstacles before women exercising the right to choose, to retricting access to contraception, the past few weeks have seen a range of attacks on women in the states – and a growing movement of progressive state lawmakers standing up and fighting back.