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For Immediate Release

Date: 08/21/13

Republicans Look Forward to Finalization of Bipartisan Bond Agreement


Express disappointment in Dem duplicity, partisan attacks
Express disappointment in Dem duplicity, partisan attacks

AUGUSTA - House Republican leadership today expressed relief that a responsible, bipartisan bonding package will go before the Appropriations Committee in preparation for an August 29 special session. At a press conference, Democrats seemed to distance themselves from the agreement, attacking Republicans for not agreeing to more borrowing in the current $149.5 million bond package and blaming them for not including research and development in the proposal to go before the November ballot, although Democrats originally didn't want voters to see any bonds until June.

"Now that we have authorized the repayment of the state's Medicaid debt, we're finally in a position to be able to issue bonds responsibly," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "It would have been fiscally irresponsible to go on a borrowing and spending spree before paying off our past-due welfare bills. The package that Democrats and Republicans agreed to last Friday, however, is a sensible one. It's not too large, and it prioritizes essential functions of government such as transportation and education infrastructure."

"I am glad that the Democrats, after much negotiation, agreed with us that we should get the transportation bond out to the voters in November in time for the spring construction season," Fredette added. "I'm also pleased that the Democrats agreed to give each bond its own, up-or-down vote and not lump them together into one bill. That's the only honest way to make public policy and, unfortunately, that's not the way it's always been done."

Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton said that he is not a big proponent of bonds, but that this package is a responsible one.

"I'm happy that the money from these bonds, if approved by the voters in November, will go toward real projects that help revitalize our roads, bridges, college campuses, and more," said Willette. "This package will create jobs now for Maine people while ensuring that the state is maintaining the vital infrastructure that makes Maine strong and safe."

Fredette expressed disappointment with what he sees as an ongoing pattern for Maine Democrats.

"I was encouraged to see Democrats and Republicans come to such a quick and amicable agreement on Friday regarding a bond package for jobs," said Fredette. "I was equally discouraged, therefore, to see Democrats today attack the Republican contributions to that very same bipartisan agreement. They have reacted similarly to the past two biennial budgets. I had hoped that we built a new bridge between the parties, only to see Democrats today attack the very same bipartisan agreement that resulted in a handshake on Friday."

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