tax breaks

Recent Stories

In-Depth: The full interview with Isabel Sawhill

When senior reporter Naomi Schalit began her nine months of research for our series on Maine’s single parents in poverty, one of her first stops was Isabel Sawhill’s office at the Brookings Institution. You’ll find many quotes from Sawhill in Schalit’s five-part series; here is the complete interview transcript. Continue Reading →

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The story behind the story

I have been a reporter for 34 years and this was the hardest story I have ever written. People didn’t want to talk to me. They didn’t want to give me “fodder for woman-blaming.” That was the response I heard, over and over, as I tried to set up interviews for my story about the dramatic rise in the percentage and number of Maine children born to single mothers — and the consequences of that rise. Continue Reading →

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500% rise in single parenthood fueling family poverty in Maine

Part 1: In one of the most in-depth series that the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting has ever published, Senior Reporter Naomi Schalit discovers and calls attention to a dramatic change in the Maine family — a 500 percent increase in the proportion of children born to single parents in the last 43 years. Nearly half of all births in the state are now to mothers who are not married.

Because most of those single parents can’t afford to raise a child — or two or three children — they are destined to live in poverty. And when children are raised in that kind of poverty and deprivation, their brains are literally harmed, setting the stage for a lifetime of negative effects, according to the experts interviewed by Schalit.

At a time when poverty and welfare have become polarizing political issues in Maine, the very people who know the most about this problem don’t want to talk frankly about it for fear of backlash against the parents and children they are trying to help. It took nine months of digging into the problem — interviews with national experts, days spent with single mothers, time in the state prison with single fathers and repeated visits with teachers, social workers and public officials — for Schalit to bring forward this essential story.

Continue Reading →

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Tax law allows billions in business property taxes to be diverted from paying for local services and schools

Put an addition on your house, and the town assessor will come around, increase the value of your house and your property taxes will go up. Get a TIF, and you, too, have to pay taxes on that new warehouse or factory – but the taxes don’t help pay for the schools, plowing and cops. Continue Reading →

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NY State senator: tax support to weapons maker “truly outrageous”

A New York state senator has called the state’s $5.5 million in grants and subsidies to a weapons manufacturer “truly outrageous” in light of the Newtown, Conn. shooting massacre and wants the practice stopped. N.Y. State Sen. Liz Krueger’s letter to Empire State Development — click image for full letter
Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, cited a recent report by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting and The New York World that nine states, including New York, have given tax breaks, subsidies and grants to the makers of semi-automatic rifles that have been used in multiple mass shootings, including the one on Newton that killed 20 children and six adults last month. New York’s tax support went to Remington Arms, based in Ilion, since 2007. In her letter to the head of the Empire State Development Corp, the state agency that administers the tax subsidies, Sen. Krueger, the ranking minority member on the N.Y. Senate’s Finance Committee, said:

“Among the products produced by Remington at the New York plant that received these benefits is the Bushmaster model used in the murders in Newtown. Continue Reading →

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States have subsidized makers of assault rifles to tune of $19 million

Taxpayers across the country are subsidizing the manufacturers of assault rifles used in multiple mass killings, including the massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. last month. Continue Reading →

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