Maine Cancer and Aging Research Center Bond Issue, Question 4 (2014)

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Question 4
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Type:Bond issue
Referred by:Maine Legislature
Topic:Bonds
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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The Maine Cancer and Aging Research Center Bond Issue, Question 4 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred bond question. If approved, the measure would issue $10 million in bonds to build a research center for genetic solutions to cancer and diseases of ageing.[1]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The language will appear on the ballot as:[1]

Question 4: Bond Issue

Do you favor a $10,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $11,000,000 in private and other funds, to build a research center and to discover genetic solutions for cancer and the diseases of aging, to promote job growth and private sector investment in this State, to attract and retain young professionals and make the State a global leader in genomic medicine?[2]

Text of legislation

The full text of the legislation that referred this measure to the ballot is as follows:[3]

An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Biomedical Research in Maine

Preamble. Two thirds of both Houses of the Legislature deeming it necessary in accordance with the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, Section 14 to authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State of Maine to provide funds as described in this Act,

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. Authorization of bonds. The Treasurer of State is authorized, under the direction of the Governor, to issue bonds in the name and on behalf of the State in an amount not exceeding $10,000,000 for the purposes described in section 5 of this Act. The bonds are a pledge of the full faith and credit of the State. The bonds may not run for a period longer than 10 years from the date of the original issue of the bonds.

Sec. 2. Records of bonds issued; Treasurer of State. The Treasurer of State shall ensure that an account of each bond is kept showing the number of the bond, the name of the successful bidder to whom sold, the amount received for the bond, the date of sale and the date when payable.

Sec. 3. Sale; how negotiated; proceeds appropriated. The Treasurer of State may negotiate the sale of the bonds by direction of the Governor, but no bond may be loaned, pledged or hypothecated on behalf of the State. The proceeds of the sale of the bonds, which must be held by the Treasurer of State and paid by the Treasurer of State upon warrants drawn by the State Controller, are appropriated solely for the purposes set forth in this Act. Any unencumbered balances remaining at the completion of the project in this Act lapse to the Office of the Treasurer of State to be used for the retirement of general obligation bonds.

Sec. 4. Interest and debt retirement. The Treasurer of State shall pay interest due or accruing on any bonds issued under this Act and all sums coming due for payment of bonds at maturity.

Sec. 5. Disbursement of bond proceeds from General Fund bond issue. The proceeds of the sale of the bonds authorized under this Act must be expended as designated in the following schedule under the direction and supervision of the agencies and entities set forth in this section.

ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, DEPARTMENT OF

Maine Technology Institute

Provides funds, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $11,000,000 in private and other funds, to expand the State's research capabilities in the areas of mammalian genetics and murine biometric analytics, make the State a global resource for precision medicine, improve the State’s capacity to attract and retain young professionals and bring additional grant funding, private sector investment, job growth and economic activity to the State.

Total . . . . . . $10,000,000

Sec. 6. Contingent upon ratification of bond issue. Sections 1 to 5 do not become effective unless the people of the State ratify the issuance of the bonds as set forth in this Act.

Sec. 7. Appropriation balances at year-end. At the end of each fiscal year, all unencumbered appropriation balances representing state money carry forward. Bond proceeds that have not been expended within 10 years after the date of the sale of the bonds lapse to the Office of the Treasurer of State to be used for the retirement of general obligation bonds.

Sec. 8. Bonds authorized but not issued. Any bonds authorized but not issued within 5 years of ratification of this Act are deauthorized and may not be issued, except that the Legislature may, within 2 years after the expiration of that 5-year period, extend the period for issuing any remaining unissued bonds for an additional amount of time not to exceed 5 years.

Sec. 9. Report. The Department of Economic and Community Development shall report by January 15th annually, until the bond proceeds authorized by this Act have been fully expended, to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over appropriations and financial affairs and the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over research and economic development matters.

Sec. 10. Referendum for ratification; submission at election; form of question; effective date. This Act must be submitted to the legal voters of the State at a statewide election held in the month of November following passage of this Act. The municipal officers of this State shall notify the inhabitants of their respective cities, towns and plantations to meet, in the manner prescribed by law for holding a statewide election, to vote on the acceptance or rejection of this Act by voting on the following question:

"Do you favor a $10,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $11,000,000 in private and other funds, to build a research center and to discover genetic solutions for cancer and the diseases of aging, to promote job growth and private sector investment in this State, to attract and retain young professionals and make the State a global leader in genomic medicine?"

The legal voters of each city, town and plantation shall vote by ballot on this question and designate their choice by a cross or check mark placed within a corresponding square below the word "Yes" or "No." The ballots must be received, sorted, counted and declared in open ward, town and plantation meetings and returns made to the Secretary of State in the same manner as votes for members of the Legislature. The Governor shall review the returns. If a majority of the legal votes are cast in favor of this Act, the Governor shall proclaim the result without delay and this Act becomes effective 30 days after the date of the proclamation. The Secretary of State shall prepare and furnish to each city, town and plantation all ballots, returns and copies of this Act necessary to carry out the purposes of this referendum.[2]

Fiscal note

The following fiscal note was submitted for Question 4:[4]
ME Question 4 2014 fiscal note.JPG

Background

The election that will take place in Maine on November 4, 2014, is known as a referendum election. According to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, "Referendum Elections are held to provide Maine’s citizens an opportunity to vote on People’s Veto Referenda, Direct Initiatives of Legislation (i.e. Citizen Initiatives), Bond Issues, other referenda proposed by the Legislature, and Constitutional Amendments. Referendum elections are an important part of the heritage of public participation in Maine."[5]

Support

Supporters

Media editorial positions

Support

  • The Bangor Daily News said,
It’s hard to believe all the promises packed into the language of Question 4 on November’s ballot, but the initiative in mind behind the ballot question deserves Maine voters’ support. Neither the bond issue nor the process that led to it is ideal — overall, the research and development-oriented bond questions on the ballot next month fall well short of the investment Maine needs — but Maine can’t afford not to make this investment...Despite our reservations about Question 4, we urge a “yes” vote. This is Maine’s chance to restart a pattern of research and development investments that can yield future dividends.[2]

Bangor Daily News, [8]

Opposition

  • The Maine Current said,
We don’t support Question 4, because of both the inanity of the question itself and the lack of information provided. Question 4 seeks $10 million to be matched by $11 million “in private and other funds” to build a research center “to discover genetic solutions for cancer and the diseases of the aging.” It would also “make the state a global leader in genomic medicine.” Voters should view the wording of this question with a healthy dose of skepticism. [2]

Maine Current, [9]

Path to the ballot

See also: Legislatively-referred state statute

According to Article IX, Section 14 of the Maine Constitution, a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Maine Legislature was required to put bond issues before voters.

The Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives passed HP 1260 on April 17, 2014.[10]

Senate vote

April 17, 2014 Senate vote

Maine HP 1260 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 26 81.25%
No618.75%

House vote

April 17, 2014 House vote

Maine HP 1260 Assembly Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 119 81.51%
No2718.49%

See also

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External links

References