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For Immediate Release

Date: 07/08/13

To Ensure Passage, Legislature Must Keep Transportation Bonds Separate

Dems again prepare to hold popular, job-creating proposal hostage for spending spree

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders on Monday called on Democratic leaders to stop the Washington-style politics and pass a transportation bond separate from other bond proposals. This spring, Democrats refused to pass a popular, bipartisan plan to pay off Maine's welfare debt to its hospitals unless Republicans went along with a controversial and massive expansion of the very welfare program that created it.

Similarly, Democrats in recent days have stated publicly that they intend to roll all bond proposals currently before the legislature's budget-writing committee, including LD 1095, the governor's transportation bond, into one enormous borrowing package.

"That proposal would likely meet the same fate as the mega-bill to merge welfare expansion with payment of the hospital debt," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "House Republicans, including our four members of the budget committee, feel strongly that a transportation bond should be handled separately from other bond proposals. Just like with the hospital repayment bill, Democrats have recognized a good, bipartisan jobs proposal and have decided to jeopardize the whole thing by using it as leverage to advance a contentious spending spree that doesn't enjoy the same support."

Governor Paul LePage in March introduced a $100 million bond proposal to fix Maine's transportation infrastructure. The proposal, designed by professionals at the Department of Transportation, is focused on improving Maine's economy by targeting specific opportunities for economic development in the state.

"Democrats need to quit their obsession with making sure they get credit for every proposal that comes up and fighting the governor at every turn, because that's what this is really about," said Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette of Mapleton. "It's petty, it's childish, it's hyper-partisan, and it's a roadblock to putting Mainers back to work."

Fredette added that the governor's transportation bond proposal has wide support among House Republicans and would likely pass through the Legislature.

"This is something we could pass tomorrow if we wanted to," said Fredette. "There's no reason to wait on an issue that has broad, bipartisan support and would create jobs and improve our transportation infrastructure for Maine people."

The budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and the full legislature will convene Tuesday to handle matters before them.

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David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793