Maine Public

The issue of selling government bonds for projects across Maine turned into a spat between Gov. Paul LePage and State Treasurer Terry Hayes Monday.

Governor LePage blocked the bond sale last week, and now the governor and the state treasurer are trading charges over who is responsible for the delay that has upset several contractors with projects underway.

Originally published June 25 11:21 a.m.

Next week, Maine voters will be asked to weigh in another $105 million in borrowing to pay for needed transportation infrastructure.  This week, a lobbying group called TRIP released its latest assessment of one segment of that transportation infrastructure:  bridges.

The TRIP assessment: 14 percent of Maine bridges remain structurally deficient.  The group says that's the ninth highest percentage in the nation.

But state transportation official Andrew Bickmore says the 14 percent figure may not be as bad as it sounds

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Maine lawmakers Thursday night enacted a $105 million transportation bond that voters will consider in November. 

But a research and development bond, and one to fund student loan debt forgiveness, failed to get enough support. Both are tabled in the House.

“We could have let it go today or we could let it stay there to give it another chance when we come back on August second, to anticipating some vetoes that will be on our desk,” said House Speaker Sara Gideon.

The results of a $50 million statewide bond issue that would fund investment in infrastructure, and research and development in Maine have not yet been officially reported.

But Mike Saxl, the spokesman for the bond proposal, says that he's "cautiously optimisitic" that the proposal passed.

"I think Maine has always been smart about investing in research and development and commercialization," Saxl says. "We've had a lot of good success in the past, and people get that these are the jobs of the future for Maine."

The House has joined the Senate in supporting legislation that would force the sale of $15 million of bonds for senior housing approved by the voters in 2015.

Westbrook Rep. Drew Gattine, a Democrat, argued the bill is needed because Gov. Paul LePage has refused to sign off on the sale of the bonds.

“Maine desperately needs the senior housing that these voter-approved bonds will create. Maine is the oldest state in the nation,” he said.

Gattine said the bonds had the support of 70 percent of the voters and LePage is ignoring their will.

Last-Ditch Effort Aims to Get LePage to Release Voter-Approved Bonds

May 16, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine housing developers and affordable housing advocates hope lawmakers roundly support a Republican's bill to release $15 million in bonds for senior housing that voters approved two years ago.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz's bill awaits a vote in the Democratic-controlled House, which next convenes Tuesday.

Supporters have been waiting weeks for action on the bill, which they call a last-ditch effort to release the bonds while Maine's termed-out Republican governor is in office.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted last month 26-8 on the bill.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor says he's looking into whether the awarding of a state contract was "underhanded.''
Gov. Paul LePage during a Tuesday radio call-in said he was led to believe a Dallas-based firm recently selected as Maine's bonding agent helped write the state's bidding solicitation.
But LePage stressed that was conjecture. He added it'd be a "white collar crime'' if the contract purposely blocked Maine companies.

ORONO, Maine -- Gov. Paul LePage told a small audience in Orono Wednesday night that he will never authorize the release of $15 million for senior housing bonds.

During one of his weekly town meetings, LePage was asked when he planned to approve the borrowing package that was endorsed by nearly 70 percent of Maine voters last fall.

AUGUSTA, Maine  — Maine Gov. Paul LePage will meet with Maine State Housing Authority officials about the fate of bonds for senior housing projects.

Voters signed off on the $15 million in November. Maine State Housing Authority board chairman Peter Anastos sent a letter to LePage on Feb. 16 asking if the Republican governor intends to approve the bonds.

LePage opposed the bond proposal last year. Anastos's letter says the board takes "no position" on the issue, but members need to know if the bonds will be approved because they would need to create a program to use them.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says he will fight efforts in the Legislature to curb his authority to sign off on the issuance of bonds under the Land For Maine's Future program.

"Now they are trying to take my powers away," LePage says. "They can't do it so now we are going to have another constitutional battle. And that one is going to last a long time because I am not going to ask the questions of the Supreme Court anymore. We are going to go through the litigation process so I can get all of these Land for Maine's Future people wasting their money."

AUGUSTA, Maine — A newly released study finds that Maine sends more bond questions to voters than any other state. It also finds that bonds that do make the ballot are likely to pass.

AUGUSTA, Maine - As the Maine Legislature staggers toward the finish line of a long and contentious session, Gov. Paul LePage and fellow Republicans have fended off an effort to take away his authority to issue voter-approved bonds.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House failed to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that would have forced the governor to release about $11.5 million in voter-approved conservation bonds, and would have required the governor to authorize any future general obligation bonds approved by voters, with a few caveats.

The House vote of 91 to 52 fell six votes short of the two-thirds needed to override LePage's veto, killing the bill for the session. The Senate voted earlier today to override the veto 25 to 9.

By Alanna Durkin, The Associated Press
AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage's has submitted a last-minute bill to keep alive $6.5 million in bonds for land conservation projects that are set to expire.

The Republican said Wednesday that he wants lawmakers to consider the bill on Thursday when they return to finish their work for the session.