Maine Senate Republicans Explain Their Bond Borrowing Position

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Augusta, ME) – Yesterday, after much discussion within our caucus, Senate Republicans chose to vote in favor of the $105 million bond for transportation projects. On the remaining three bond proposals, Republicans decided that the responsible approach is to wait before making the final decision on further borrowing. Since bonds in Maine are generally sold at the end of June each year, we still have ten months before this issue becomes an urgent priority.

Senate Republican Dana Dow: “If we were to vote to pass the Land for Maine’s Future proposal today, for example, this would not cause any money to be borrowed until almost July of next year. We have plenty of time to make an informed, responsible decision before we add to the $7.7 billion in current total state debt.”

According to the State Treasurer, that debt already includes $543 million in General Obligation Bonds, like those proposed, and another $103 million in bonds that have been authorized but not yet issued. The state’s Constitutional obligations to state pensions is $2.5 billion and must be paid in full by 2028.

Maine has a statewide election already scheduled for March of next year. This would allow plenty of time to have the bonds placed on that ballot, approved by voters, and authorized by the end of June when bonds are sold. Waiting until the Legislature returns in January will do nothing to delay these bond funds from becoming available, should the voters approve them. Nothing that happened in the legislature yesterday will prevent or even delay these bonds from final passage.

Furthermore, Governor Mills and Democratic leaders in the Legislature chose not to include Republican leaders in the discussions or negotiations surrounding the bond package.

Republicans were handed a total package, told there would be a Special Session, and this was the extent of the involvement of Republican leadership in the discussions.

Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake: “Now that we have taken the more responsible approach to further borrowing by waiting until we have all of the relevant information early next year, I look forward to sitting down with all leadership to craft a collaborative bond package.”

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