It’s the last week before Spring Break and we’re all looking forward to a rest. However, there are no shortage of great posts and analysis on Maine political and policy issues this week. It’s a diverse group of posts this week, but if there is one thread tiring many of these posts together, it is “plans.” Last week saw the release of Gubernatorial Candidate (and US Representative) Mike Michaud’s “Maine Made” plan, an outline of what he would do to revitalize the Maine economy, should he be elected in November. Also, at the beginning of the month, Bangor City Councilman Ben Sprague put forth a plan listing 38 ideas designed to attract and retain young people in the city. Many of the posts this week examine dimensions of these two plans.
Turning first to Michaud’s plan, Ben Algeo zeroes in his proposals with regard to energy policy. Spencer Warmuth has a great post looking broadly at the economic dimensions of the plan and whether he believes they would prove fruitful. In particular, he devotes attention to Michaud’s proposal to raise the minimum wage, as well as his much-discussed proposal to offer a tuition-free sophomore year to students within the UMaine system. Liam Nee opts for a comparative analysis looking at Eliot Cutler (who visited his class on Chinese Economics this week) alongside Michaud. In particular, Liam focuses (as he has all semester) on the issue of demographics and whose plan is more likely to keep young people in the state of Maine.
Speaking of demographics, there were also a number of posts that dealt with Ben Sprague’s suggestions for Bangor. (Incidentally, Ben will be visiting the course later this semester as we talk about local and municipal governments). Cam Marcotte offers a largely positive assessment of some of Sprague’s key suggestions–zeroing in on incentives for small business owners and new homeowners, as well as the proposals designed to deal with student debt. Dean Soltys, whose blog also deals with demographics, offers a thumbs up as well. Although he perceptively notes that many of these proposals will involve short-term sacrifices (in terms of revenue) for the local governments and the state government. He leaves open the question of whether officials already facing budgetary strain will be able to make the short-term sacrifices necessary in order to deal with the longer term structural issues facing the state.
As always, this is only a sampling of the great work the students have been doing thus far. Head over to the blogroll to see some of the other work which the students have been doing. And if you have not yet had the chance check out Trey Stewart’s piece on diet and health care that appeared in the Bangor Daily News this week (a blogpost composed for this class which he revised to submit as an op/ed). Also, check out this Bangor Daily News article on Michaud’s sophomore tuition proposal that features Maine Government student Liam Nee.