Maine Legislature Approves Bond Proposals

Democrats say jobs bonds would give needed “economic shot in the arm”

MAY, 2012 – The Maine House and Senate have given final passage to five bond proposals that would make needed investments in Maine’s roads and bridges, colleges and universities, research and development, land conservation, and waste water and drinking water treatment. 

“A jobs bond will give our economy a much needed shot in the arm,” said Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, the House Democratic leader. “The best way to improve our economy is by making more investments that will help small businesses, job training and public education.”

Maine has lost more than 1,000 jobs since 2011 and was recently rated 50th for personal income growth according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Legislature approved a total $95.6 million in bond proposals, which Democrats say will create immediate jobs now and set the foundation for economic growth in the future.
The bond proposals included $51 million for transportation improvements, $20 million for research and developments, $11.3 million for higher education, $7.9 million for water and waste water treatment; and $5 million for land conservation.

The proposals will be sent to the voters in November assuming Governor LePage approves them.

“If we don’t make these public investments now, we will be missing an opportunity to create jobs,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, the lead House Democrat on the Appropriations committee. “Public investment will create jobs now and grow good-paying jobs for our future. We have the money to make targeted investments now.”

According to the non-partisan fiscal experts from the Legislature’s Office of Fiscal and Program Review, the state has the capacity to make public investments in bonds for voters to approve. Debt service payments from 2013 to 2015 will decline by nearly $30 million, lowering the state’s payments on debt and increasing the capacity to borrow.

Maine has a track record of conservative bonding and has historically paid down its debt quickly. The state typically bonds for 10 years, not 20 or 30 as other states do. Debt service is typically between 4-7 percent of the General Fund.