(Aug 2013 Review) Governor LePage (Video): Support of the Transportation Bond Supports Economic Stability and Jobs

Posted on February 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

(Originally posted 12 Aug 2013) Here we go again- Governor LePage is gonna get all bothered if he doesn’t get his way! Check out the latest “Blusta Outta Augusta”

      Governor LePage: Support of the Transportation Bond Supports Economic Stability and Jobs

    The growing debate over whether the Legislature should move quickly to pass a transportation bond comes down to one thing – jobs.

    As your Governor, I want Mainers to have good-paying jobs, and I want businesses to have the support to expand in our great State.

    As lawmakers examine nearly a billion dollars of bond projects, our Administration is asking for just one bond to go to voters this November.

    Our Administration, in March, proposed a $100 million transportation bond, which allows the Maine Department of Transportation to plan projects for the next three years.

    It provides $81 million for improvement to highways and bridges, and it provides job stability to those in the construction industry, where more than 8,000 jobs have been lost since 2006.

    We designate another $19 million for improvements to multimodal facilities that would support projects, such as major development on the Portland waterfront, as well as preserving rail connections for Maine businesses.

    Our roads and ports continue to be a focus of economic opportunity that helps create jobs. But the federal government has flat funded transportation projects, and vehicles that are more fuel-efficient are generating less revenue in fuel taxes. With those decreases in revenue, this bond is needed now.

    Even with the approval of $100 million bond, Maine’s highway and bridge programs are still facing a funding shortfall.

    Democratic leadership so far has failed to act, and timing is critical. The Secretary of State’s Office needs bonds approved for the November ballot by the middle of August. The early deadline ensures our military troops overseas receive an opportunity to vote – surely a right our uniformed men and women deserve.

    With strong bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans alike, there should be no hold up on this transportation bond. There will be time in January to continue the bond debate for other projects.

    Once again, we are at a crossroads. Democrats have a choice. They can do the right thing by supporting economic development and jobs or they can delay again.

    The time to act is now and Mainers are depending on us.

Someone ought to tell the Governor to wait a second- he’s not fooling ANYONE. Back when he first proposed his transportation bond package, folks could smell a rat- and LePage admitted himself who that rat was:

    During a State House news conference Thursday morning, LePage admitted that he’s holding $105 million in bonds already approved by voters “hostage” to his hospital debt proposal. Those bonds include $51.5 million for transportation projects.

    “I’ll admit it. It’s the only way I can get anything done upstairs, is, you’ve got to threaten them,” LePage said. “They won’t get it done unless I force it. If I release those bonds today, the hospitals won’t get paid this year, and that’s a fact.”

Why, it’s as if LePage forgot when he all but told Skowhegan and House Asst Majority Leader Rep. Jeff McCabe to, as Gerald at Dirigo Blue put it, “go pound sand”… while helping Livermore Falls.

But McCabe has had the Governor’s number for years…

    jeff mccabe

    “I represent Skowhegan in the Maine Legislature. Our community was slated to receive 400,000 dollars thanks to a downtown improvement program funded by the bond package voters passed in 2009.

    Voters knew that it’s a good time to make these strategic investments. Interest rates are low, Maine is in good shape to bond, and the program supports local jobs and helps communities improve their downtowns, where local businesses thrive.

    Skowhegan’s plan was approved. The town signed contracts with the state, hired engineers and started renovations. We have spent nearly 40,000 dollars, and local businesses have raised more than half a million dollars to match the grant.

    So you can imagine our shock when Governor LePage went back on the state’s promise to help us fund our project on schedule. He told us that he’s holding the money, and he can stall on issuing the bonds for as long as five years if he wants to.

    Nearly a dozen other towns, like Eastport, Monmouth, Rockland and Winthrop all qualified for funds to redevelop their downtowns and create new local jobs. We were all ready to go, and we all got the same message from Governor LePage – we’ll get the money when he feels like it.”

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(UPDATED) Breaking: LePage Signs Memo Committing to Issuing Skowhegan Bond Funds

Posted on August 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Bangor Daily News reporting this evening that Governor LePage has signed a memorandum to Treasurer Poliquin committing to issue bond funds of $375,300 to Skowhegan on or before June 20, 2015.

From the article:

State Sen. Rodney Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, and Donald Skillings, chairman of Skowhegan’s planning board, worked with the governor to secure the memo, which is similar to the one issued to Livermore Falls and Norway, according to a release by the Maine State Republicans.

“We both felt it was necessary to reach out to the governor on his terms,” said Whittemore in a statement. “The governor is looking out for state finances and that should be important to all Mainers, but the governor also recognizes the importance of getting some of these local projects off the ground. Donald and I were not interested in political gamesmanship with the governor, that is why we quietly sought a meeting, and I think the results speak for themselves.”

Caption: “Donald Skillings (left) of Skowhegan shadowed Senator Rodney Whittemore (R-Skowhegan) as he performed his duties in the Maine State Senate on Jaunary 10th. Skillings, owner and operator of Donald Skillings Insurance Agency, Inc. in Skowhegan, is pictured here with Whittemore in the well of the Senate.” (January 2012)

That Donald Skillings is Rep. Jeff McCabe’s opponent in November for HD 85 needs to be noted.

A reminder: Rep. McCabe has long been working hard for a month to try to find out how to secure the same treatment Livermore Falls received- and yet the Governor’s office bypassed him altogether.

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Tipping: LePage Plays Favorites

Posted on August 7, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Eye opening stuff from Mike this morning. Some snips:

“… after blocking the issuing of voter-approved community development bonds slated to help 11 towns in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage had selectively helped five of those communities receive alternate funding for their planned development projects.

Every one of the five — Norway, Livermore Falls, Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport and Monmouth — is represented by Republicans in both the House and Senate.

None of the four towns with Democratic representatives — Rockland, Skowhegan, Bath and Belfast — received similar assistance.

That’s quite a coincidence.”

Indeed it is.
Mike concludes:

“It doesn’t seem to matter how well-planned your development project is or how many small businesses it will help. If the governor doesn’t like your town or the people in it, he won’t help it succeed.”

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Redevelopment Funding for 4 Communities Clarified; Questions Remain Regarding Hold Up For Others

Posted on August 2, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |


(A reminder to readers: Gerald, who has been the one chronicling this story to this point left for vacation this morning. In full disclosure, I live in one of the towns affected. ~Andi)

According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, developer Kevin Bunker said yesterday he has received a $400,000 Maine Rural Development Authority loan to go forward with Livermore Falls’ Lamb Block project.

As collateral, Bunker used a letter from Gov. LePage stating that said bonds would be issued in that amount by June 20, 2015, to repay the loan.

“I needed to have the project done by the end of the year for HealthReach to move into,”
Bunker said. “I couldn’t sit around and wait for the governor to release bond funds. I had time constraints.”

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said Wednesday that three other communities that expected to receive funding for projects are either in the process or have been qualified for other funding such as Community Block Development Grants.

“The state is ready and willing to help these communities, and we have demonstrated it,” she said. “What we really want is town officials to reach out to us to find a solution because they are our customers.”

Those three other eligible communities — Eastport, Dover-Foxcroft and Monmouth — secured Community Development Block Grants for their projects, according to Doug Ray, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. All three “had signed contracts that were well underway” and all three projects fit CDBG guidelines. Eastport received $190,000, Monmouth received $157,641 and Dover-Foxcroft garnered $140,000.

But other communities are still waiting and asking the Governor when it will be their turn:

Bennett said the administration awarded the grants based on an evaluation of each project’s estimated “return on investment”, as well as that economic development department, not LePage, will likely participate in the meeting requested by several town and city administrators.

As Steve Mistler noted in his report, how the administration quantifies the “return of investment” qualifier or whether other projects are falling short of it remains unclear:

Geoff Herman of the Maine Municipal Association said that the current situation complicates the communities’ ability to receive other financing, because they don’t control the issuance of the bonds and the state does.

“Banks and bond houses may need something firm (from the state),” Herman said.

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