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Maine Marine Businesses Bond Issue, Question 7 (2014)

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Question 7
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Type:Bond issue
Referred by:Maine Legislature
Topic:Bonds
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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November 4
Question 1 Defeatedd
Question 2 Approveda
Question 3 Approveda
Question 4 Approveda
Question 5 Approveda
Question 6 Approveda
Question 7 Approveda
Polls
Expenditures
Local measures
The Maine Marine Businesses Bond Issue, Question 7 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred bond question, where it was approved. The measure was designed to issue $7 million in bonds to facilitate growth of marine businesses.[1]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

 Maine Question 7
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 344,783 59.08%
No238,79340.92%

Election results via: Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions

Text of measure

Ballot title

The question appeared on the ballot as follows:[1]

Question 7: Bond Issue

Do you favor a $7,000,000 bond issue to facilitate the growth of marine businesses and commercial enterprises that create jobs and improve the sustainability of the State’s marine economy and related industries through capital investments, to be matched by at least $7,000,000 in private and other funds?”[2]

Full text

The full text of the measure was as follows:[3]

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:

PART A

Sec. A-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 $7,000,000 for the purposes described in section 5 of this Part. 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. A-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. A-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 Part. Any unencumbered balances remaining at the completion of the project in this Part lapse to the Office of the Treasurer of State to be used for the retirement of general obligation bonds.

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

Sec. A-5. Disbursement of bond proceeds from General Fund bond issue. The proceeds of the sale of the bonds authorized under this Part 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 facilitate the growth of marine businesses and commercial enterprises that create jobs and improve the sustainability of the State's marine economy and related industries through capital investments, awarded after a competitive process administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development in consultation with the Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Technology Institute, to be matched by at least $7,000,000 in private and other funds.

Total $7,000,000

Sec. A-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 Part.

Sec. A-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. A-8. Bonds authorized but not issued. Any bonds authorized but not issued within 5 years of ratification of this Part 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. A-9. Referendum for ratification; submission at election; form of question; effective date. This Part 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 Part by voting on the following question:

"Do you favor a $7,000,000 bond issue to facilitate the growth of marine businesses and commercial enterprises that create jobs and improve the sustainability of the State's marine economy and related industries through capital investments, to be matched by at least $7,000,000 in private and other funds?"

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 Part, the Governor shall proclaim the result without delay and this Part 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 Part necessary to carry out the purposes of this referendum.

PART B

Sec. B-1. Determination of awards. The Department of Economic and Community Development, in consultation with the Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Technology Institute, shall oversee the disbursement of bond proceeds and matching funds authorized pursuant to Part A in accordance with this section. Awards of bond proceeds and matching funds must be made on a competitive basis following a request for proposal process for a single award of $7,000,000.

1. A successful applicant must include the following entities:

A. A marine-based research program at a private or public university or a nonprofit research institution;
B. Commercial fishing or aquaculture interests;
C. Community-based organizations committed to the growth of the local economy; and
D. Private sector businesses.

2. A successful application must also include proposals for growth in each of the following areas:

A. Traditional commercial fishing interests;
B. Aquaculture industry;
C. Value-added seafood processing; and
D. Market development for Maine-based products.
PART C

Sec. C-1. 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, on the use of the bond proceeds to the joint standing committees of the Legislature having jurisdiction over appropriations and financial affairs and research and economic development matters.

Sec. C-2. Contingent effective date. Part B and this Part take effect only if the General Fund bond issue proposed in Part A is approved by the voters of the State. [2]

Background

The election that took 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."[4]

Support

Supporters

SP 675 "Yes" votes

The following members of the Maine Legislature voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot.[7][8]

Note: A yes vote on SP 675 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in Question 7.

Senate

House

Arguments

The Maine League of Women Voters listed the following as arguments in favor of Question 7 in their voters' guide:[9]

  • The bond will provide money to commercial fishing and aquaculture businesses.
  • It will support research in areas related to oceans and fishing in Maine.
  • Use of the bond funds could result in new jobs in fishing, aquaculture, and seafood processing.
  • It may help the economy in the State of Maine.
  • The $7 million bond will be matched by $7 million in private and other funds.

[2]

Opposition

SP 675 "No" votes

The following members of the Maine Legislature voted against placing this measure on the ballot.[7][8]

Note: A no vote on SP 675 meant that a legislator did not want to refer the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators disapproved of the stipulations laid out in Question 7.

Senate

House

Arguments

The Maine League of Women Voters listed the following as arguments in opposition to Question 7 in their voters' guide:[9]

  • Maine would add $7 million to its total debt.
  • It will cost a total of $8.54 million in principal and interest over ten years to repay the money.
  • Some people think private businesses should not get taxpayer money but should get loans from banks.
  • Other projects may be more worthy of the state’s money.

[2]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Maine ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • The Bangor Daily News said,
With potentially wholesale changes in store for Maine’s fisheries, the state’s seafood trade needs to have the ability to adapt and still realize value from one of the state’s key sectors. Question 7 on the November ballot is an acknowledgment of the critical importance of Maine’s fisheries and a nod to the need for planning for their future. The ballot initiative deserves voters’ support...Maine has woefully underinvested in research and development in recent years, and the state has failed to stick to a consistent strategy when making its investments. We would have preferred to see the $7 million proposed in Question 7 funneled through the Maine Technology Asset Fund, where the competition wouldn’t be limited to one sector that might or might not offer the best return on the state’s R&D investment.

Still, the economic importance of Maine’s fisheries is clear, and Question 7 offers Maine a chance to prepare for a future in an industry that’s going to require adaptation.[2]

Bangor Daily News, [10]

  • The Portland Press Herald said,
Projects funded through the bond could include creating processing capacity in Maine for the state’s extremely valuable elvers, which are now harvested and shipped to China and on to Japan, where they are raised to adulthood and sold in markets in Europe and North America.

It could mean building on the work being done at the Downeast Institute in Beals, which is trying to create a new market for surf clams. It could mean finding how to use the waste generated by lobster processing, or how to benefit from the growing populations of green crabs and dogfish now being found in the Gulf of Maine.

In any case, the funding from Question 7 would help create more value out of one of Maine’s chief industries.[2]

Portland Press Herald, [11]

Opposition

  • The Maine Current said,
Like questions 4 and 5, Question 7 offers little in the way of helpful information, and voters should defeat it solely on that basis. It asks voters to approve $7 million “to facilitate the growth of marine businesses and commercial enterprises that create jobs and improve sustainability of the state’s marine economy and related industries through capital investments to be matched by at least another $7 million in private and other funds.” Our reaction to the question is, why is the government choosing to prop up the marine economy. Why not another sector such as the logging and paper industry, or perhaps the artisanal cheese economy or maybe, dare we say, the newspaper industry?[2]

Maine Current, [12]

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 SP 675 on April 17, 2014.[13]

Senate vote

April 17, 2014 Senate vote

Maine SP 675 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 28 87.50%
No412.50%

House vote

April 17, 2014 House vote

Maine SP 675 Assembly Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 114 78.08%
No3221.92%

See also

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References