State of Maine Archives: on Welfare & Poverty

Janet Mills: Demands release of publically funded welfare study

Atty Gen Janet Mills demanded in a letter that Gov. Paul LePage release a publically funded report crafted by the controversial Alexander Group to anyone who requested it. When asked how he responded, LePage said: "Tell her to sue me." The letter was sent to LePage and Mary Mayhew, whose Dept of HHS signed a $925,000 contract for the Rhode Island-based Alexander Group to study Maine's welfare system, including the possibility of expanding Medicaid as allowed by the federal Affordable Care Act.
Source: Bangor Daily News on 2018 Maine Gubernatorial race Jan 29, 2017

Bruce Poliquin: War on Poverty has failed after spending $16 trillion

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty in America. Since then, $16 trillion taxpayer dollars have been spent on welfare programs to eliminate those conditions. Today, however, 15% of Americans still live in poverty; there were 19% when the initiative began. By any objective measure, the well-intended War on Poverty has been a sad and expensive failure.

The American dream is not about becoming comfortable entrapped in big government welfare programs for our subsistence. Rather, it's to take advantage of our unique free market democracy to improve our lives, live independently, care for our families, and enjoy more happiness and freedom.

Source: 2014 Maine House campaign website, Nov 4, 2014

Paul LePage: Give people in need a hand up; don't give unneeded hand-outs

The state of Maine plans to reinstate work requirements for food stamp recipients, part of a broad effort by Republican Gov. Paul LePage (R) to reform what he has characterized as the state's unhealthy reliance on welfare.

Maine has for years taken advantage of a federal waiver of work requirements for food stamp recipients. [Now LePage's] policy change would affect an estimated 12,000 residents who collect roughly $15 million in benefits, paid for by the federal government.

"People who are in need deserve a hand up, but we should not be giving able-bodied individuals a handout,'' LePage said. "We must continue to do all that we can to eliminate generational poverty and get people back to work. We must protect our limited resources for those who are truly in need and who are doing all they can to be self-sufficient."

LePage has set his sights on broad welfare reform. This spring, he introduced a four-bill package aimed at reducing fraud in welfare payouts and encouraging job-seeking.

Source: Washington Post on 2014 Maine gubernatorial race Jul 24, 2014

Eliot Cutler: We need welfare reform but not demonization of recipients

LePage lumped Social Security and Medicare into the definition of welfare: "It doesn't matter what liberals call these payments, it is welfare, pure and simple," LePage said. "Liberals believe that redistribution of wealth--taking money from hard-working taxpayers and giving it to a growing number of welfare recipients--is personal income. It's not. It's just more welfare expansion."

Eliot Cutler was critical: "I can't believe he meant to do that because it's extraordinarily insulting to the thousands of Maine people who worked all their lives and are now retired & trying to make ends meet by relying on Social Security and Medicare, programs to which they--and for that matter, Gov. LePage--are entitled," Cutler said. "I understand that we have welfare challenges in Maine and we need reform. I just don't talk about it in the way he does. I want to talk about how we can fix the problem. He is simply demonizing people and now expanding the definition of welfare beyond any definition I've ever observed."

Source: Portland Press Herald on 2014 Maine gubernatorial race Jun 26, 2014

Paul LePage: Maine grew at 0.8% if we discount federal welfare payments

LePage includes Social Security among 'welfare' programs. He also puts Medicare and jobless aid in that category while arguing that Maine's personal-income ranking would be better if such federal payments were excluded.

The federal data put Maine's personal-income growth at 0.5% in the first three months of 2014, well below the national rate of 0.8%. One of the biggest reasons cited for the low ranking was Maine's refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

LePage, however, said that Maine's net personal earnings increased by 0.8%. The governor arrived at his number by excluding what the federal bureau calls "personal current transfer receipts": payments from the federal government for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits and Medicaid expansion. Maine is one of only four states (IN, TN and WY are the others) where transfer receipts declined this year. LePage said he chose not to follow the federal bureau's definition because it conceals welfare benefits.

Source: Portland Press Herald on 2014 Maine gubernatorial race Jun 26, 2014

Paul LePage: Maine's TANF welfare system is too generous

Gov. LePage announced that he will seek changes to the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in order to avoid millions of dollars in federal penalties that he said result from a welfare system that's too generous. Democrats said the problems in the TANF program are not new and that LePage is highlighting the issue now to bolster his image as a welfare reformer.

According to LePage, the state could be liable for up to $13 million in federal fines for not meeting national TANF guidelines from 2007 to 2010, though that amount can be reduced if Maine takes quick action. At issue is that the state did not meet federal requirements for the number of TANF recipients who were working while receiving benefits. "We must fix this Maine law in order to comply with federal law," said LePage. "Maine is overly generous in allowing a wide variety of exemptions from the work requirement, which are not recommended by the federal government, making it impossible to meet federal standards."

Source: Bangor Daily News on 2014 Maine gubernatorial race Jan 3, 2014

Eliot Cutler: Never abandon citizens who are unemployed, ill, or hungry

Maine continues to experience a growing gap between public needs and our ability to meet them. Maine should never abandon its citizens who are unemployed or underemployed, face illness or disease without the means to obtain good health care or who go to bed hungry every night. Every business understands and every family on a budget knows, that when resources don't align with expenses, something has got to give. The choices we make and the policies we pursue can dramatically increase opportunity for all Mainers if we stop playing politics and confront these serious challenges head on.
Source: 2014 gubernatorial campaign website, Dec 31, 2013

Shenna Bellows: No one in Washington stands up for people who are hurting

Democrat Shenna Bellows released a promotional web video offering a glimpse of what next year's Senate-race election narrative will look like. Bellows, who formerly headed the Maine ACLU, plans to challenge Collins on issues like government surveillance, economic fairness, and political courage.

"In the past two decades, Washington has manufactured an economic crisis, an environmental crisis, and a constitutional crisis," Bellows says to the camera. "No one in Washington is standing up for the people who are hurting... Maine needs a senator with the courage to lead."

The video, which is just over two minutes long, features Mainers talking up the candidate's "middle-class values," work ethic, and effective leadership. Bellows appears to be going with "the carpenter's daughter" as her one-line characterization.

Source: The Portland Phoenix AdWatch: on 2014 Maine Senate race Dec 12, 2013

Paul LePage: End welfare-on-day-one: No instant eligibility for benefits

Maine is one of just a few places in the country that offers "welfare-on-day-one," for legal non-citizens. Our budget saves $20 million by eliminating instant eligibility for welfare benefits and sends the message that work and independence are what is expected of everyone in Maine. Our budget also includes a true five-year time limit on welfare eligibility and incentives to help move people from dependence to self-sustaining employment.
Source: Maine 2011 State of the State Address Feb 10, 2011

Charlie Summers: Welfare recipients must work or train 40 hours a week

Source: Maine Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2008

Susan Collins: Block grants for state and local flexibility in welfare

Source: Maine Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test Jun 18, 2008

Cynthia Dill: Increased work requirements for able-bodied recipients

Source: Maine 2006 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2006

Matt Dunlap: Expand state services to include the working poor

Source: Maine Congressional 2002 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

  • The above quotations are from State of Maine Politicians: Archives.
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