February 9, 2024
Greetings Community Advocates,
The first month of the Second Regular Session of the 131st Maine Legislature has come and gone. Legislative committees in Augusta are hard at work voting out bills to send to the full Legislature.
Recently, Governor Janet Mills delivered the State of the State address, an annual speech given by the Governor to share updates on challenges and potential solutions.
United Way of Southern Maine (UWSM) staff recently took part in a National ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) Summit in New Orleans to learn more about what other ALICE partner states are doing to help inform our work. UWSM also advocated for expansions of the Child Tax Credit as part of a larger federal tax package.
Lastly, we have launched an action alert to support LD 2136, the bill to establish the Office of New Americans. Read on to see how you can get involved in this important work.
Governor Mills’ State of the State
On Tuesday, January 30, Governor Janet Mills delivered her State of the State address.
With an eye toward sustainability, Governor Mills stressed the importance of fiscal prudence. Acknowledging the plateauing of future revenues, she championed cautious budgeting to safeguard Maine’s financial health.
Central to her address were strategic investments aimed at addressing some of Maine’s most pressing challenges including an allocation of $16 million aimed at addressing emergency housing needs. Another proposal aims to improve opioid recovery programs, featuring support for the deployment of recovery coaches and the distribution of naloxone, as part of the strategies to address the opioid epidemic. The proposal also calls for investments in education and strategies intended to attract healthcare workers.
Additionally, the Governor proposed a $50 million investment from the Rainy Day Fund earmarked for infrastructure improvements to withstand climate change, alongside a $5 million investment in the Community Resilience Partnership.
United Ways of Maine Support Federal Expansions of the Child Tax Credit
United Ways of Maine is proud to support expansions to the Child Tax Credit within the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. The Child Tax Credit is a vital resource for families in Maine, providing necessary support for daily living expenses and educational needs, especially for low-income households. Contact your federal representative today to share your support!
Senator Angus King
Contact Senator King
Senator Susan Collins
Contact Senator Collins
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree
Contact Congresswoman Pingree
Congressman Jared Golden
Contact Congressman Golden
United Way Attends ALICE Conference
UWSM and United Way of Kennebec Valley staff attended the National ALICE Summit last month to meet and collaborate with other United Way colleagues from across the country. As a refresher, United Ways of Maine recently unveiled a report, ALICE in Maine: A Study of Financial Hardship, which made Maine the 29th partner state United for ALICE.
At the conference, the ALICE Economic Viability Dashboard was unveiled. With this dashboard, we can explore data on work, housing, and community resources for households below the ALICE Threshold by location and race/ethnicity, compare conditions between two locations, and create action plans to address barriers and make structural changes to improve conditions for workers and households in their communities.
Help Strengthen Maine’s Workforce: Share Your Story and Advocate for LD 2167
We invite you to join us in a powerful movement to support and empower our Immigrant Communities who have chosen Maine as their home. At the heart of our campaign is advocating for LD 2167, a bill that will create the Office of New Americans in our state. You can email your state representatives by clicking here. It takes just one minute to advocate.
United Way of Southern Maine was also proud to testify in support of this bill. You can read our testimony here.
United Way of Southern Maine launches the Housing Crisis Response Fund
Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. For many in Southern Maine, that reality is out of reach. United Way of Southern Maine is launching the Housing Crisis Response Fund to ensure that more of our neighbors have a safe place to call home.
This fund will directly support essential community services in Southern Maine that address urgent and critical needs, provide housing with supportive services, and support vulnerable communities.
Visit uwsme.org/housingcrisis to learn more and create real community change.
Get Your Taxes Prepared for Free with CA$H Greater Portland
CA$H Greater Portland is now offering free tax preparation services for 2023. The program is available for households with income below $64,000 in 2023. For those who qualify, this free tax prep service can help you navigate your tax filings in numerous ways. CA$H Maine’s IRS-certified volunteers can help you determine if you qualify for the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, use direct deposit for a faster refund, help you get the most of your money, and more. Additionally, the service includes advice on financial management and offers free federal and local tax return filing at myfreetaxes.com. Appointments are required and can be scheduled by calling 207-347-2309 or emailing email@example.com. More information is available at uwsme.org/taxseason.
If you would like to know more about how you can advocate for a thriving community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for raising your hand and offering your support as a volunteer, donor, and advocate. Together we are creating a Southern Maine where everyone can thrive.
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