State Ballot Questions
The Windham Eagle has introduced you to the candidates running for state office in our districts, now let’s take a look at the seven state ballot questions.
Question 1 Citizen’s Initiative Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?
Currently it is legal in Maine to bait bears, use dogs (hounding) to track them and use cable to trap them. The changes to the law would make all three methods of bear hunting illegal. A “YES” vote will make the three methods of hunting illegal, and a “NO” vote will allow them to continue.
The remaining questions are all for bond issuance, which means that the State of Maine issues general obligation bonds that are backed by the full faith and credit of the State. All the questions propose a 10-year term for the bonds and an interest rate of four percent.
Question 2 Bond Issue Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs through the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service?
Approval of question two would allow the state to borrow up to $8,000,000 to provide funds to be administered by the U Maine Cooperative Extension to create an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory.
According to the office of the treasurer, the total estimated cost of the bond would be $9,760,000.
Question 3 Bond Issue Do you favor a bond issue to provide $4,000,000 in funds to insure portions of loans to small businesses to spur investment and innovation and to provide $8,000,000 in funds to make flexible loans to small businesses to create jobs, revitalize downtowns and strengthen the rural economy?
If approved, the funds from the sale of the bonds would be administered by the Finance Authority of Maine. $4,000,000 of the funds would be used to insure portions of loans to eligible businesses made by a participating financial institution in order to spur investment and innovation. The remaining $8,000,000 would be used to make flexible loans to eligible businesses and would be issued by state, regional and local economic development agencies through the Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program, which is established in statute and administered by FAME. Businesses with 100 or fewer employees or annual sales of $10 million or less would be eligible for the program and the maximum loan to any single business would be $350,000.
According to the office of the treasurer, the total estimated cost of the bond would be $14,640,000.
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?
Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Maine Technology Institute within the Department of Economic and Community Development. The funds are to be used to expand the state’s research capabilities in the areas of mammalian genetics and murine biometric analytics.
“Murine” refers to mice and rats, and “murine biometric analytics” and “mammalian genetics” are areas in which the Jackson Laboratory on Mount Desert Island specializes. “Precision medicine” and “genomic medicine” are terms that relate to the use of advanced genetic research to analyze the cause of an individual patient’s disease at the molecular level in order to tailor medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient. The funds must be awarded through a competitive process and are to be matched by $11,000,000 in private and other funds.
According to the office of the treasurer, the total estimated cost the bond would be $12,200,000.
Question 5 Bond Issue Do you favor a $3,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds, to modernize and expand infrastructure in a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration located in the State in order to increase biotechnology workforce training, retain and recruit to the State multiple biomedical research and development groups and create a drug discovery and development facility that will improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity?
Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Maine Technology Institute within the Department of Economic and Community Development. The funds are to be awarded through a competitive process to institutions that have been designated as Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and have also received IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence grants There are 13 such eligible institutions in Maine comprised of a collaborative network of private and public colleges, universities and research institutions, led by the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. The bond proceeds awarded through the competitive process are to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds.
According to the office of the treasurer, the total estimated cost of this bond would be $3,660,000.
Question 6 Bond Issue Do you favor a $10,000,000 bond issue to ensure clean water and safe communities across Maine; to protect drinking water sources; to restore wetlands; to create jobs and vital public infrastructure; and to strengthen the State’s long-term economic base and competitive advantage?
Approval of this bond would allow the state to administer up to $10,000,000 to improve the state’s water resources. $8,200,000 would be allocated to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where $5,400,000 would be used for improvements including stream crossing and culvert upgrades; $400,000 would be used to restore state wetlands; and $2,400,000 would go into an existing revolving fund that provides loans to municipalities for water treatment facilities upgrades. The fund is administered by the Maine Bond Bank and the DEP. Should this be approved, the state may be eligible to secure federal grants of up to $12,000,000.
The remaining $1,800,000 would be allocated to the state’s safe drinking water revolving loan fund. Loans from this fund may be issued to eligible public water systems to design, construct or improve drinking water supplies or treatment and distribution systems, or for actions pursuant to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996. Approval of this bond may make the State eligible for federal up to $9,000,000 in federal grants.
According to the office of the treasurer, the total estimated cost of this bond would be $12,200,000.
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?
If approved, up to $7,000,000 would be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) in consultation with the Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Technology Institute through a competitive bid process for marine-based research programs at private or public universities; nonprofit research institutions; commercial fishing or aquaculture interests; community-based organizations committed to the growth of the local economy; and private sector businesses whose proposals demonstrate growth in traditional commercial fishing; aquaculture; value-added seafood processing; and market development for Maine-based products.
According to the office of the treasurer, the total estimated life time cost is $8,540,000.
The current debt service tor fiscal year 2015 is $96,533,819. Between the Highway Fund and the General Fund, the state has an outstanding bond debt of $449,632,836 including interest, and $225,957,809 in approved yet unissued bonds. If all of this year’s bonds are approved, the state’s bond debt would increase by $61,000,000 -- representing $50,000,000 in principal and $11,000,000 in interest – to $510,632,836.
The full 31-page Citizens Guide to the November 2014 Election is available at the upcoming elections page at www.maine.gov. The Treasurer’s page of the state’s website also provides a debt and bond page that lists all the current debt.