Friday, June 22, 2007

Victory in Maine

Crossposted with the Huffington Post:
On Wednesday the students of Maine won an amazing victory. Opportunity Maine is a citizen ballot initiative that will provide a tax credit to all graduates of Maine colleges to offset their student loan repayment for each year they stay in the state. Employers can also take the tax credit to pay off their employees' student loans.
The state currently experiences a bad brain drain. The "creative class" effects of having more college grads around will benefit Maine's tax base by $14 million in 2018, more than paying for the measure, according to one economic analysis.
What's really cool is that this victory belongs to a very professional, focused and dedicated coalition of students and community members, both Opportunity Maine and the League of Young Voters. They worked over the Maine winter with hundreds of volunteers to gather 73,000 signatures to get the measure considered. Then instead of putting it to the voters, the Maine Legislature and Senate passed the bill outright. The Legislature voted unanimously - 142-0.

I was up in Augusta last month testifying before the Taxation Committee in support of this bill, so I'm pretty proud to see it passed. Even facing budget difficulties, Maine has chosen to take a step to help both students and its economy. Federal reforms are very important, but college costs also need to be dealt with on a community basis.

6 comments:

Billy Mac said...

Great feature on Yahoo...nice job.

George said...

Very cool! We could use something similar to this in Texas - do you know if the League of Young Voters has any outreach efforts?

Anonymous said...

Um, did I miss something? I don't get your credentials. Three years self-promotion and condescending advice qualifies? And a porn-esque pic?

Perhaps in the age of Bush that's all it takes, ha ha. But I don't see how it will help us poor hoi polloi, who hardly know what to do with our meager little salaries, let alone those big fat credit card bills.

Bow to the Jew Girl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Two thoughts regarding college ;
1 - the first two years are wasted and very expensive... instead the USA should have full year attendence for middle schools and High School students (paid by the local communities/states) and they should be more demanding... That would pick up the first two years of college education at basicly no cost to the student... you then get your BA or BS by attending college for 2 yrs at full tuition... even if you don`t go on to get a BS you still benefit by having better educated HS students graduating...this would obviously create a dilemea for 4 yrs schools who have been making a killing off of student tuition...but it seems the most obvious...since it cuts the tuition paid in half...

2)... I wrote to our `letters to the editor` column about 4 yrs ago regarding the below plan which they printed and I then forwarded to the governor and a number of our politicians here in NJ.. The idea behind it was to up grade math and science scores, incentivize teachers, students and parents and get more of our NJ college bound kids to stay in state and use our tax supported state schools - the plan would be financed by a state lottery... It went like this --

The state develops a test for science and math and administers it, controled by the state, every year to the high school grades (every 5th yr the test is made more difficult thereby upgrading the overall state scores over time)... kids passing at a certain level get a $1K `credit` for each test passed to an in state NJ college.... the High School itself gets $1K `cash` per each test passed and pools it to be split among the faculty.... a student in 4 yrs could gain $8K in credits to be used in state, while the teachers supplement their pay checks. The state benefits cause the student stays in state and spend their money here (NJ has a large brain drain of students leaving for out of states schools while our taxes support in state colleges) also all three parties -students, parents and teachers will be working toward upgrading student skills to have more pass to benefit from the $$$ incentive...

If the HS teachers are smart ---they`d defer their payout and allow the pool to be split with the middle school and grade school teachers.... This would create pressure on the lower grades (without the community having to spend any more money for it) to up grade the students math and science skills so that by the time they get to HS more of them would be passing the state tests and building the $$$ pool...

If the state wanted to get more creative they could award smaller amounts to kids who showed the most improvement from prior tests as incentives...

I read where Mike Bloomberg in NY is talking about a cash award now for NYC kids...


*** With a combination of high tuition costs and college being a near mandatory entry point for many jobs, plus a job market that is seeing outsourcing and illegal immigrants (20 million per Goldman Sachs study) driving down labor wages... today students are facing tough times both financially and socially... schools that reflect an a farming society (long summers off) doesn`t fit with 2007 needs and teachers that go into teaching for their summers off doesn`t fit with 2007 needs... and colleges that are so rigid and expensive that create a class of graduates that are basicly bankrupt by the time they graduate and can`t find quality paying jobs... is not worth the land they stand on....

MoneyMan said...

I read about this on yahoo today. Given the fact that higher education is a prerequisite for most of the better paying jobs in the USA, I can only see more states adopting similar measures.