Maine Economic Development and Job Creation, Question 4 (June 2010)

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The Maine Economic Development and Job Bonds Issue, Question 4 was on the June 8, 2010 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred state statute where it was approved.[1][2][3]

The measure called for providing an economic development and job creation bond for investments under the Communities for Maine's Future Program and in historic properties; research and development funds awarded on competitive basis; disbursements to small businesses; fishing, agricultural, dairy and lumbering business grants; provides for redevelopment at Brunswick Naval Air Station.[4][5]

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Hannah Pingree and cosponsored by Rep. Seth Berry, Rep. Emily Ann Cain, Rep. John Piotti, Sen. Bill Diamond and Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell.

Election results

Question 4
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 159,084 50.6%
No155,22449.4%

Official election results via the Maine Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The ballot language read as follows:[6][7]

Do you favor a $23,750,000 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?

Support

The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce voted May 20, 2010 to endorse the four bond measures scheduled to appear on the statewide ballot. According to board Chair Michael Ballesteros the bonds were in line with the chamber's interest's of the state's business community. The Portland Chamber of Commerce also supported the bond measures.[8]

Gov. John Baldacci supported the four June 2010 bond measures. In his weekly radio address he said the bonds would help boost the economy, help small businesses and support energy independence. Baldacci noted that he understood the reluctance to vote in favor of the measures but argued that Maine was conservative with borrowing and paid its debt in less than half the time it takes most states.[9][10]

Tactics and strategies

In May 2010 Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said a coalition was being formed to launch an advertising campaign in support of the bond proposals. According to Connors they were planning to do some "advertising." Connors argued that the bonds will help create jobs.

Some supporters said that although they did support the proposed bonds on the June 8, 2010 ballot, they worried that voters wouldn't readily approve them, particularly because the state and the country was coming out of a recession. Chris Hall, vice president of the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce said that supporters had to work hard to convince voters. "We did have some members on our board that opposed our endorsement because of those same concerns. But most, more than 60 percent, supported all of the bond package," he said.[11]

Opposition

The Maine Heritage Policy Center was opposed to the bonds that appeared on the June 2010 ballot. Center President Tarren Bragdon said that while bonds were appropriate for some state needs, Maine had too much debt. "It’s our hope that the voters will reject some of these and send a strong message to the politicians in Augusta that if you are not going to be responsible with our credit card, then we will take matters into our own hands and vote no. We are going to say no more debt, not now."[11][12]

Scott Moody, an economist for the center, wrote a study which ultimately concluded that Maine's debt would leave lawmakers with two options: reduce spending or raise taxes. "Before any new debt is approved, Mainers should insist that legislators deal with these ballooning, unfunded retirement liabilities first and foremost," said Moody.[13]

Media endorsements

Main article: Endorsements of Maine ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Bangor Daily News supported Bond Questions 2, 3, 4 and 5. In an editorial the board said, "States, unlike the federal government, are unable to spend into the red. That’s a good thing. But with interest rates at historic lows, these bonds are a bargain for building and rebuilding Maine. They should be passed."[14]
  • The Brunswick Times Record supported Question 4. "Question 4, the $23.75 million Maine jobs and economic development bond, is regarded by Dana Connors, president of Maine State Chamber of Commerce, as 'critical to Maine’s future'...Maine businesses, both large and small, and the basis of their support of Question 4 is that in order to build a healthy economy that will provide high-wage jobs and keep young people in Maine, we must expand access to higher education and training. That’s true both for the businesses already in Maine, as well as the new businesses we hope will set up shop here to replace the high-wage jobs being lost in traditional manufacturing industries, including the 7,000 jobs we’ve lost with the 2011 closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station."[15]
  • The Journal Tribune supported the bond question. In an editorial the board said, "Last week the Journal Tribune endorsed the four bond issues on Maine’s June 8 ballot. We recommended “Yes” votes on Questions 2-5, proposed bond issues that serve the interests of Maine’s people."[16]

Path to the ballot

See also: Maine legislatively-referred state statutes

To place the measure on the ballot, the measure was required to receive at least a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.

See also

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References