The Margaret Chase Smith Essay

The University of Maine: Playing All Positions in the Policy Game

by Joan Ferrini-Mundy

President Joan Ferrini-Mundy outlines how the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias are positioned to help further the goals of the 2020–2029 Maine Economic Development Strategy. The central strategies focused on talent and innovation (grow local talent, attract new talent, promote innovation) align well with the university’s mission.

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Margaret Chase Smith

Articles

The Dilemma of Nursing Home Closures: A Case Study of Rural Maine Nursing Homes

by Mary Helen McSweeney-Feld and Nadine S. Braunstein

Nursing home closures in the United States have accelerated in the past five years. Reasons for these closures include inadequate Medicaid reimbursement, increased emphasis on short-term rehabilitative stays for Medicare residents, geographic location of nursing homes, presence of hospital swing bed programs, and changes in Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulatory requirements for nursing homes. Increased minimum wage rates and limited on-the-job worker training have also led to staffing shortages, forcing bed reductions in nursing homes. This paper examines the premise that low Medicaid reimbursement is the primary reason for the closures of Maine nursing homes.

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Institutional Challenges to Workforce Development in Maine

by Thomas F. Remington

An important factor for understanding the issue of workforce development, in Maine and nationally, is rising economic inequality. High inequality impedes the working of labor markets, and over time, reduces opportunity and mobility. In Maine, as elsewhere, income gaps have widened between rich and poor while the middle class has been shrinking. Meantime, many good-paying jobs are going unfilled. Comprehensive institutional solutions can help overcome these problems by matching supply and demand in the labor market, but they are not simple or cheap. Three such arrangements are described: apprenticeships; specialized wraparound programs focusing on disadvantaged or marginalized individuals; and college-and-career readiness programs aimed at secondary-level students.

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Sustainability of Maine’s Emerging Wine Industry

by Michaela A. Murray, Mark Haggerty, and Stephanie Welcomer

wine goddessSeveral wine regions, including France, Australia, and South Africa, have developed workbooks and policies for sustainable wine production, but Maine’s emerging wine industry has yet to explore the concept of sustainability as it relates to its operations. These authors interviewed the owners of 10 Maine wineries and analyzed how they define and enact sustainability along with the obstacles they face in sustainability efforts. This research aims to provide baseline information that will help Maine’s Wine Guild and policymakers formulate actions that enable Maine’s wine industry to grow and compete with other wine regions.

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Worker Safety in Maine’s Boatyards: Improving OSHA Compliance Efforts

by Jeremy A. Pare

Maine’s boatyards struggle with OSHA regulations because OSHA’s command-and-control rules leave little room for flexibility, and as evidenced by the boatyards’ high workers’ compensation costs and injury rates, implementation does not effectively protect boatyard workers. This article investigates whether changes to OSHA’s 50-year-old punitive regulatory strategy can influence the way boatyards self-regulate and decrease hazards and minimize the risk of injury to workers.

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Commentaries

Declining Economic Opportunity and a Shrinking Safety Net: Consequences for Maine

by Ryan LaRochelle

inequalityIn this commentary, Ryan LaRochelle discusses the consequences of declining economic opportunity and a shrinking social safety net for Maine. LaRochelle recommends that policymakers in Augusta recognize how precarious many Mainers’ economic situations are and take action.

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Maine and the Arctic: Why Maine Should Develop and Arctic Strategy

by Jonathan Wood

In this commentary, Jonathan Wood articulates why, given Maine’s recent history as an Arctic player and a detached federal administration coupled with other Near-Arctic subnational entities creating their own Arctic strategies, it is a good time for Maine to articulate its own Arctic strategy.

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Columns

Reflections

The One Constant? Things Change

by Linda Silka

Executive Editor Linda Silka reflects on the notion of change that underlies many of the articles in this issue of Maine Policy Review.

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Intersections

Intersections: Structural Inequalities in the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit

by Daniel S. Soucier

Daniel Soucier discusses the structural inequalities in the Maine Opportunity Tax Credit, particularly how it affects women.

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