Oh, Maine Today Media, what a mess... Wednesday, the Portland Press Herald (a MTM newspaper) published a news article correctly reporting that 2016 was a record year for private sector jobs in Maine, and that total personal income rose by more than 3.5% over a one-year period, as well as nearly 13% over a five-year period.
The story was picked up at centralmaine.com – where the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel are jointly published. But, it seems the Maine Today Media opinion page editors and writers missed the memo.
Literally on the same day and then the following day that this news about the strength of Maine's economy hit the pages of their papers, two opinion pieces were published that bring the hilarity of liberal opposition to Republican pro-growth reforms into a new realm.
The first, from regular MTM opinion columnist Douglas Rooks, who said on 3/30/2017:
“Maine didn’t always have a stagnant economy and a shrinking population.”
“This may not prove that higher state taxes are good for the economy and, particularly, for those earning less, but it should provide a reality check on insistent voices like Gov. Paul LePage; his tax cuts to date have done nothing to restore prosperity.”
MTM Actual News Article 3/29/2017:
“Maine’s 3.2 percent unemployment figure in February is tied for the lowest on record and contributed to the third-longest stretch of unemployment below 4 percent in four decades.”
“There were, on average, 517,300 private sector jobs in Maine in 2016, up from 511,000 in 2015 and 489,000 in 2010.”
“According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total personal income of Mainers rose from $56.9 billion in 2015 to $59 billion in 2016. Going back to 2010, the average wage for a private sector job was $36,589. In 2015, it was $41,287. Final wage data for 2016 hasn’t been released yet.”
Next, we have State Rep. Patricia Hymanson (D- York), who wrote in an Op-Ed to the Portland Press Herald published the same day as the news article on jobs:
“Gov. LePage and Commissioner Mary Mayhew of the Department of Health and Human Services have been the architects of short-sighted policies that have driven children and families deeper into poverty, increased childhood hunger and removed basic health care from struggling families.” (See record low unemployment, record high private sector jobs and strong wage growth quote above)
“Simply cutting participation in these programs does not help to improve Mainers’ lives, but rather contributes to them becoming less healthy, poorer and less able to participate successfully in work and community.” (See record low unemployment, record high private sector jobs and strong wage growth quote above)
It would appear that both Rep. Hymanson and Mr. Rooks missed the memo from the Maine Today Media news department about Maine's economy.