Future forfeited



To the Editor:

New analysis released today by the nonpartisan Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) finds that over $1.9 billion in available federal funds that the state has forfeited since 2011 could have helped protect health and well-being, promote tax fairness and boost Maine’s economy.

The report, “Lost Federal Funds: Lost Opportunities for Maine,” found that the lost funding would have injected up to $700 million dollars a year into Maine’s economy and supported 4,800 jobs annually.

To put these lost federal funds into perspective, $1.9 billion is more than all Mainers combined spend on heating oil over three winters. Mainers have a long tradition of working together and looking out for our neighbors. Federal funding helps us with this by investing in our future to make our communities and our economy strong.

The governor has turned back federal dollars that feed hungry children, support Alzheimer’s sufferers and their caregivers and address Maine’s opioid addiction epidemic. The governor and legislature have failed to bond for needed infrastructure projects, eligible for federal matching funds, to help improve roadway safety. These choices are causing lasting harm to Maine’s people and economy.

The report documents funds the state has lost under more than two dozen federal programs from 2011 to 2017. It includes programs directed at public health, children and families, health care and infrastructure.

“Turning away federal funds so that people suffer from addiction and chronic disease, families go hungry, and roads and public structures crumble will not strengthen Maine’s economy. Securing and using federal funds to invest in public health, education, health care and infrastructure will,” the report states.

The report urges legislators to stem the loss of vital federal dollars into our state and to use them to invest in our economy and safeguard our families.

Jody Harris

Maine Center for Economic Policy

Augusta

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