Our analysts this week are former state senator and mayor of Portland, Democrat Ethan Strimling, and former Republican state senator Phil Harriman.
MAINE, USA — The Mills administration has created a new back-to-work program aimed at getting unemployed Mainers back into the workforce.
It taps $10 million in federal funding to provide a one-time $1,500 payment for workers who start jobs before the end of this month and $1,000 for those who start jobs in July.
Ethan Strimling says he’s in favor of anything that puts more money into the pockets of struggling workers. But he points out, “it’s less than a buck an hour on average annually, so it’s not going to transform anybody’s life.” He thinks it’s a better idea to start raising the minimum wage, “get it up to 15 bucks an hour statewide as it’s projected to be in Portland, that’s going to have some real impact.”