Study: Southern Maine could sustain a casino

A study commissioned by the Legislature suggests that Maine could sustain more casinos depending on their size and location.

The study released Aug. 30 shows the state’s economy could handle one more casino as long as it is in southern Maine, close to Interstate 95 and popular summer tourist attractions.

The study also suggests a smaller casino in northern Maine, in either Washington or Aroostook county, close to the Canadian border.

Members of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee are expected to review the study Sept. 10.

Republican State Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon told the Sun Journal that the $110,000 study gives lawmakers a clean slate for developing workable policy proposals that aren’t based on a particular set of constituents’ desires.

Maine already has casinos in Oxford and Bangor.

Maine’s jobless rate at 5.5 percent in July

The unemployment rate in New England ticked up to 5.8 percent in July, but it’s still lower than the national average.

The New England Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the rate for the region Wednesday. It was one-tenth of a percentage point higher in June.

Rhode Island had the highest rate in the region, at 7.7 percent, which is tied for the third worst in the U.S. Connecticut’s rate was next, at 6.6 percent. Massachusetts’ rate was 5.6 percent, followed by Maine at 5.5 percent, New Hampshire at 4.4 percent and Vermont at 3.7 percent.

The national unemployment rate in July was 6.2 percent.

The New England rate a year ago was 7.2 percent.

All 12 Fed regions report growth in July, August

The U.S. economy strengthened in all regions of the country in July and August, in areas from consumer spending to auto sales to tourism, the Federal Reserve reported in a survey released Wednesday.

All 12 of the Fed’s regions reported growth. Six – New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco – characterized growth as “moderate.” The other regions reported somewhat slower expansion. Four described growth as “modest,” and two noted signs of improvement.

The survey found no clear evidence that the economy is expanding so fast that the Fed might soon need to begin raising interest rates to prevent inflation.

Most regions reported optimism about key economic sectors. A majority cited increased loan demand, for example, and hotel occupancies.

New rules hold big banks to ‘liquidity’ requirements

Federal regulators are requiring big banks to keep enough high-quality assets on hand to survive during a severe downturn, the latest move under congressional mandate to lessen the likelihood of another financial meltdown.

The Federal Reserve adopted rules on a 5-0 vote Wednesday that will subject big U.S. banks for the first time to so-called “liquidity” requirements. Liquidity is the ability to access cash quickly. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency also adopted the rules.

– From news service reports

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