Should Maine Spend More on its Cities?
Maine's three federally defined metro areas - Portland-South Portland, Lewiston-Auburn and Bangor - are the center of the state's economic activity and population growth. "Yet," says Stone, "state policies governing funding for education and transportation, state aid to local communities and economic development programs have not caught up to this new reality, according to economists and planners who have studied Maine’s communities and the state’s economy."
While experts are careful to point out that the funding impbalance is not "purposely biased," the fact remains that “the legislative bias has been in favor of the suburbs, the bedroom communities,” rather than the state's designated service centers, said Evan Richert, a former State Planning Office director. Policies that govern economic development and the distribution of education, transportation, and social service funds adversely effect the state's regional anchors.
“We have this weird situation where relatively less well-off populations in service-center communities and in truly rural places are having their tax dollars transferred to relatively well-off suburban places,” Richert said.