Bond Issue Passes: Reactions

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Editor
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Bond Issue Passes: Reactions

Norwel...The city's welfare budget didn't increase so the money to keep the Somalis going is either coming from:1. earned income.
2. state dollars.
3. federal dollars.
4. private donations.Actually, it has been quiet since the Mayor's letter media frenzy this winter. Rumor mill has it that quite a few of our new neighbors have departed but I stress this is only rumor. I think local folks would just like this die as an issue.Lewiston's economy seems to be sputtering along.

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Bond Issue Passes: Reactions

[i]AMG Editor: Note classic Gov. Baldacci weasel words in paragraph five[/i].Lewiston Sun Journal
6/10/03
AUGUSTAMaine voters approve $60 million bond packageBy GLENN ADAMS
Associated Press Writer
A $60 million bond issue, pitched by Gov. John Baldacci as an economic stimulus package that will create thousands of jobs, was approved by voters weighing in on the only question on Maine's statewide ballot Tuesday.With votes counted in 65 percent of Maine's precincts, the proposal was winning 61 percent to 39 percent. The results, which remained consistent as the counting continued into the night, are unofficial.Baldacci proposed the bond issue and the Legislature ordered it sent out for a spring referendum. The governor said spring balloting was chosen to position Maine to receive millions of dollars in matching funds before the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30.Passage was "a smart move by the people," Baldacci said after the yes side was declared the winner. Tuesday's approval bolsters economic development actions already taken by the Legislature, the governor added."The citizens have now joined in that fight and recognize that Maine isn't going to sit back and take any more bad news from any more layoffs or plant closings. [b]They're going to try[/b] to stimulate job growth and opportunity in our state," Baldacci said.Citing estimates by the State Planning Office, Baldacci said 4,000 full- and part-time jobs would be created through projects financed with the bonds.Some towns and cities consolidated their polling places in anticipation of a light turnout in the unusual off-cycle voting, and checks across the state seemed to bear out their predictions.About 50 Some communities, including Augusta, Bangor and Brunswick, had local issues or special elections on their ballots as well.Political advertising in the weeks leading up to the voting was limited to supporters' $240,000 mail and media campaign. There was no visible campaign by opponents to the bond issue proposal, which was initially proposed by Gov. John Baldacci and sent out for a spring vote by the Legislature.Barely into his first year as governor, Democrat Baldacci advanced the long-term borrowing package in hopes of helping the state recover from the sluggish economy by generating business activity and jobs.The bond package would raise $20 million for a biomedical research fund and $17 million for other research and development initiatives. An affordable housing component totals $8 million, and $6 million is earmarked for a municipal investment trust fund.Rounding out the package is $4 million for marine research, $3 million for agriculture and $2 million for applied technology development centers in Fairfield, Greenville, Rumford and South Portland.The bonds would draw more than $134 million in federal and private matching money, according to estimates. Estimated interest payments over a 10-year period would be around $15 million.The referendum followed word from three bond rating agencies that Maine's ratings are not being downgraded. The Baldacci administration welcomed the news, saying it will translate into savings in interest obligations for taxpayers.A drop in ratings could cost $150,000 in added interest payments for a $50 million bond issue over 10 years, according to a study cited by state Treasurer Dale McCormick.[url=http://www.sunjournal.com/story.asp?slg=061103blondissue]http://www.sunj...

Bob Stone
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Simply a rearrangement of the deck chairs on this good ship the Titanic. Fundamental issues depressing Maine's economy remain unaddressed.Patiently waiting for jobs to materialize in Lewiston, Bob :D [ 06-11-2003: Message edited by: Bob Stone ][ 06-11-2003: Message edited by: Bob Stone ]

Melvin Udall
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OK, it's time for today's top 10 from the office of Gospel Truth in Augusta.10. 2 plus 2 equals 5.3
9. lunch is free
8. we forgot about these needs when we passed the budget a few months back
7. health care is a right
6. black is really mauve
5. state spending beyond its budget stimulates the economy
4. the matching funds don't come from you
3. everything in the bond issue is a vital program
2. affordable housing is a rightAnd the number one truth from Augusta....
1. voters are smart

larryjohnson
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I usually vote no on all bonds. I made an exception yesterday by not voting. I always assume said bonds cost the tax payer more than the worth of the projects. Question: what does this $60 mil cost the txpayer in interest and fed matching funds? Did the bonds in previous elections get rid of all those junk tires yet?[ 06-11-2003: Message edited by: larryjohnson ]

Doug Thomas
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Desperate people do desperate things.

Editor
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[i]AMG Editor: Baldacci saying, "We need public support" as if more than 13% of Maine's eligible voters turned out to vote[/i].Portland Press Herald
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Mainers say 'yes' to bond package By PAUL CARRIER, Portland Press Herald WriterCopyright © 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.  
AUGUSTA — Maine voters approved the third-largest bond issue in the state's history Tuesday, agreeing to borrow $60 million for a "jobs bond" that Gov. John Baldacci and other supporters touted as an economic-development tool.With almost two-thirds of the precincts counted, 60 percent supported the bond and 40 percent opposed it.The bond issue was the only question on the statewide ballot and the only reason there was a statewide election. But there also were local elections, with some cities and towns electing officials and holding referendums.In Bangor, voters approved a measure to allow slot machines at Bangor Raceway harness racing track, subject to statewide approval in a November referendum. In Augusta, voters had a referendum on closing one of the city's two middle schools. The Augusta results were still being counted late Tuesday.The fate of the state bond issue was never in doubt, once the polls closed and the counting began.[b]"I'm really pleased that the public has looked at this and given it their support," Baldacci said as the victory on the bond issue became apparent Tuesday night. "We needed the public support."[/b]Although passage was expected all along, Baldacci said he has been through enough elections over the years to take nothing for granted until the votes are in. Warren Cook of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, which will get some of the money for research projects, attributed the win to several factors, including the fact that "people saw this as the governor's bond package and he's on a roll right now."There was no organized opposition to the bond issue, but a political action committee that supported passage mounted an aggressive advertising campaign in recent weeks. The Jobs for a Healthy Maine PAC spent more than $287,000 promoting the bond, according to records on file with the state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.State Sen. Richard Nass, R-Acton, who opposed the bond, attributed the outcome to the ad campaign. Nass said there were few vocal opponents and they were outgunned by well-financed supporters, so the outcome was not surprising.Despite the advertising blitz, Tuesday's turnout appeared to be low, according to unofficial and incomplete returns. The final count was expected to be much lower than the 505,190 voters who cast ballots in last November's gubernatorial election, and somewhat lower than the 152,131 who voted in the gubernatorial primaries last June.The single biggest investment from the bond will pump $20 million into biomedical research at five nonprofit laboratories. That money will go to the Jackson Laboratory, the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, the University of New England, the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and the Foundation for Blood Research.The University of Maine System will get $18 million for university-based research and development. In addition, the bond earmarks $8 million for housing, $6 million for infrastructure grants to cities and towns, and $3 million for the proposed Gulf of Maine Research Laboratory in Portland.Four state "applied technology development centers," in South Portland and three other communities, will get $2 million to help them assist startup companies.The Maine Farms for the Future Program is up for $2 million, leaving $1 million in grants to nonprofit marine institutions.Supporters sold the bond to voters as a way to jump-start the state's economy, by borrowing money at low interest rates to invest in projects that would boost employment and win matching funds from the federal government and other sources. Backers said the bond would create 4,000 jobs and generate an estimated $117 million in salaries and wages.The total projected cost of the bond, including interest, is $74.8 million.Opponents countered that the bond was too large and too inclusive, forcing voters to accept or reject the whole thing instead of allowing them to pick and choose. Critics also opposed sending out such a large bond in June when voters will be asked to borrow still more money in November.The off-year June vote was unusual; June elections usually occur only in even-numbered years, when the political parties hold primaries to choose their nominees for political offices. There are no legislative, gubernatorial or congressional elections this November, so there were no primaries for any of those offices Tuesday.Staff Writer Paul Carrier can be contacted at 622-7511 or at: pcarrier@pressherald.com
[url=http://www.pressherald.com/news/state/030611bond.shtml]http://www.pressh...

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Portland Press Herald
Thursday, June 12, 2003Bond passes, but it's a dud on vote meter By MARK PETERS, Portland Press Herald WriterCopyright © 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.  
A tiny fraction of the state's registered voters ended up deciding a $60 million ballot question Tuesday, largely because of the off-year referendum's unusual timing and lack of exposure.Cities such as Portland, Biddeford and South Portland estimated Tuesday's election marked their lowest voter turnout in a decade. Just four of every 100 registered voters in Lewiston went to the polls.Early statewide estimates show that only 10 percent of registered voters in Maine cast ballots. Official numbers will not be ready until at least next week."We got a lot of complaints that this was a waste of money," Portland City Clerk Linda Cohen said Wednesday.Voter turnout climbed above 20 percent in towns like Kennebunk and Falmouth, where there were local ballot questions or elections."Everybody had an opportunity to be involved in the decision . . . You have to acknowledge that," Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky said.-----In all but about 50 communities, the question was the only item on the ballot. A sole question draws little attention in comparison to candidates, Gwadosky said. -----Jane Sheehan, chairwoman of Jobs for a Healthy Maine PAC, which pushed for the bond's approval...attributed the low turnout in part to the little time voters had to learn about the question.-----Doug Dunbar, a spokesman for Gov. John Baldacci, said the bond package was rushed to voters because many felt that steps to improve the state's economy had to be taken as soon as possible. The timing also will allow the state to qualify for federal matching funds in the current fiscal year."We have to take action to move the economy forward," Dunbar said.-----"I don't see the Legislature, from a policy perspective, doing this on a regular basis. I think most are confident putting them out in November," Gwadosky said.Cohen, who also serves as the president of the Maine Town and City Clerks' Association, said the low turnout could spark revisions in the state election law. One possibility is a minimum number of votes for a ballot question to pass. The ballot question was costly for towns and cities. [url=http://www.pressherald.com/news/state/030612elexfolo.shtml]http://www.pr...

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Bar Harbor Times
June 13, 2003'Jobs Bond' passes
By: Greg Fish
BAR HARBOR - The $60 million referendum question that was the lone ballot item for many Maine communities at Tuesday's general election - a question that supporters said was of utmost importance to the local economy - passed with ease. The bond's single largest element, $20 million for medical research and development at Maine's biotech institutions, will have direct impact on the Jackson Lab, which is Hancock County's largest employer, and the MDI Biological Laboratory. Among other things, the money will be used for facility expansion and to create jobs.Naturally, officials at the two labs were delighted with the news of the referendum's passage."Governor Baldacci and the Maine Legislature recognized the tremendous value that nonprofit research brings to our state: in new construction, good jobs with a future, and millions in federal research grant dollars," said Joyce Peterson, the public information manager at The Jackson Laboratory. "It's very gratifying that the voters of Maine recognize this, as well. For The Jackson Laboratory, passage of this bond will have an enormous impact on our ability to grow, to build collaborations with other Maine research institutes, and to implement the new programs that will be critical for continued success."We would also like to thank the Bar Harbor Times for educating the public about this important issue."At the MDI Bio Lab, John Forrest Jr., its director who also serves as president of the Maine Biomedical Research Coalition, noted a wide range of benefits from the bond."We're very pleased that the citizens of Maine recognized biomedical research as an economic growth engine for the state," he said. "Funds from the bond referendum will create jobs in all sectors of the industry from construction to retail to research staff and technical jobs. This infrastructure support will enable (biomedical research) institutions to compete very effectively for NIH and other federal dollars.""For MDI Bio Lab, in particular, the bond referendum will help expand our year-round research program to an additional five to six groups, and will provide partial funding for construction of our first new lab building since 1975."There had been some fear that sparse turnout would doom the referendum question, and while it was light - approximately 12 percent statewide - it was strongly supported, with about 60 percent of voters endorsing the question.
©Bar Harbor Times 2003 [url=http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1465&dept_id=182895&newsid=831007...

Norwel
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quote: Patiently waiting for jobs to materialize in Lewiston

Bob, I thought that the industry, frugality, investment and love of learning our Somali friends are bringing into the country would have already begun to lift Lewiston into the clouds by now. You mean that isn't happening?

Melvin Udall
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Don't you just love it? Taxing the economy to help the economy.And I don't think $60 mil qualifies as the "very large investments" the Saxl commission talked about to get the economy going. I'm thinking they plan on another $500 million or so. Add that to the $1 Billion deficit Colwell mentioned to Chuck M, and you've got some rocked booster help for the economy on its way!That of course, will drive 100,000 new jobs, and there will be no place for the workers to live. And since Richardson and Bruno said "housing prices are skyrocketing", we know they already plan on state funded/subsidized "affordable housing." More workers to build them, more housing needs, etc, repeat the tax loop.

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