Approximately 8,000 MaineCare members visit emergency rooms each year for dental pain because they have limited access to preventive care. This creates difficulties for patients and our already busy hospitals. Recently, Goodwill partnered with The Opportunity Alliance and Preble Street to support a bill in the Maine legislature to improve oral care for MaineCare recipients. Read the letter here.
What is a Biennial Budget
Biennial budget is something you may be hearing in the news a lot these days. Maine and New Hampshire are 2 of 19 states in the United States that maintain biennial budgets. All other states, including Vermont, are on an annual budget plan like the federal government. Biennial budgeting means the legislature approves separate budgets for two fiscal years at the same time. The 2-year cycle is designed to allow legislators time to review and evaluate programs during the second year since budgeting decisions have already been made during the first. Neither annual or biennial state budgets hold clear advantages – the budget cycle is just state tradition. For 2013, Maine and New Hampshire are both on the second year of their budgets and are currently holding public hearings for the proposed FY2014 – FY2015 budgets. Vermont began its public hearing process on March 5 which will run into April. The GoodwillNNE Policy Team will continue to track the budget process in all 3 states.
The Minimum Wage Debate
The minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics: Will an increase cause employment levels to decrease or will they be largely unaffected? Will small businesses suffer or thrive? Who benefits from an increase: middle-income teenagers or poor families? Is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) a more effective assistance or not?What is certain, is that a person working a full time minimum wage job makes $15,080 a year. That is too meager for anyone to climb out of poverty. Whether increased or not, we believe the minimum wage should continue to be part of the discussion about creating better opportunities for low-income families.