Lawmakers debate jobs bond proposals

6:40 PM, Mar 29, 2010   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Can Maine afford to borrow more boney to help create some new jobs? That is the central question in the newest debate in Augusta.

Lawmakers and various interest groups packed the Appropriations Committee room Monday for a public hearing on a proposed "jobs bond". The Governor and democrats in the legislature both was a new borrowing package to be put on the June referendum ballot for Maine voters.

Governor John Baldacci is proposing a $79 million dollar jobs bond package, while democratic leaders are proposing a $99 million dollar package.

Both include money for roads and bridge projects, construction of some water quality projects and purchase of the railroad line in Aroostook County that has been targeted by the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railroad to be abandoned.

Republican leaders, however, say their party is skeptical about the two jobs bond proposals -- because the price tags are far too high.

Sen. Kevin Raye (R-Washington County) says a number of fellow republicans don't want any additional borrowing, while some others might only support a much smaller package.

Republican votes are needed to pass any bond issue, because it requires a two-thirds vote of the full Legislature.

There is already one bond package on the June ballot. It consists of three questions, totaling nearly $70 million. Again, these three bond questions were already passed by the legislature last year. Here is the list of items to be voted on:

Bond Issue (Section B of PL 2009, c. 414)

Do you favor a $25,000,000 bond issue to provide capital investment to stimulate economic development and job creation by making investments under the Communities for Maine's Future Program and in historic properties; providing funding for research and development investments awarded through a competitive process; providing funds for disbursements to qualifying small businesses; and providing grants for food processing for fishing, agricultural, dairy and lumbering businesses within the State and redevelopment projects at the Brunswick Naval Air Station that will make the State eligible for over $39,000,000 in federal and other matching funds?

Bond Issue (Section C of PL 2009, c. 414)

Do you favor a $10,250,000 bond issue to improve water quality, support drinking water programs and the construction of wastewater treatment facilities and to assist farmers in the development of environmentally sound water sources that will leverage $33,250,000 in federal and other funds?

Bond Issue (Section D of PL 2009, c. 414)

Do you favor a $33,500,000 bond issue to provide for investments in weatherization and energy efficiency projects; for infrastructure and energy efficiency upgrades at campuses of the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and the Maine Maritime Academy; and for the creation of a fund to develop one or more ocean wind energy demonstration sites?




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