House Democratic Office
June 14, 2013
Contact: Ann Kim 287-1488, cell: 233-1838
REP. JORGENSEN: GOVERNOR STANDING IN WAY OF ECONOMIC GROWTH
LePageís refusal to release bonds stifles job creation
Maineís economy is still shaking off the recession. It needs a jump start, but Governor Paul LePage is throwing a wrench into the works.
Good morning. Iím Representative Erik Jorgensen of Portland. Thank you for tuning in.
Our top priority is creating jobs and getting Maine's economy moving again, but Governor LePage is reneging on his promise. Once again, he is standing in the way of economic growth by refusing to release bonds that have already been approved by the voters.
Some of these bonds won voter approval as long as five years ago. But the governor sat on them, stifling economic growth and job creation.
The governorís decision also affects the most recent set of bonds. In November, Mainers from all over the state said ďyesĒ to this bipartisan jobs and infrastructure bond package Ė one to make $150 million worth of targeted investments in transportation, higher education and our National Guard armories. These projects will create jobs.
Democrats and Republicans in the State House had found common ground in putting together this proposal, and voters agreed it was time to move forward to get our economy moving.
Now, the governor is playing political games. Heís trying to undo this good bipartisan work and prevent these voter-approved bonds from doing what they were intended to do Ė boost our economy and invest in our people.
We know that these bonds will improve Maineís roads and bridges, working waterfronts and ports. They will make our public institutions of higher education train workers for high-demand, high- wage jobs. They will make much-needed improvements to Maine Army National Guard armories.
We know that this bad decision by the governor is bad for the economy.
The governor had already signed off on getting a good chunk of this money moving. Itís already flowing for key projects around the state. He is pulling the plug on projects that will strengthen our economy now.
This hurts Maine workers and businesses. We can't afford to wait any longer for these projects to get moving and start hiring.
The governor likes to talk about himself as a businessman. Maine, under his watch, ranks 50th in terms of private sector job growth. Does that sound like a ranking to brag about?
And now this: playing with our future by holding these bonds hostage. Itís the last thing we need right now.
The state treasurer has serious concerns about the message the governor is sending out. How will businesses and credit agencies look at us now?
Recently, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly agreed that the state had to honor its funding promise to local communities. We knew we had to prevent the property tax hikes and the damaging cuts to local services like schools, firefighting and road maintenance that would result if we broke the promise.
The governor wants to break this longstanding arrangement called revenue sharing, where the state gives back a small portion of sales and income tax revenue to towns and cities.
Because the governor didnít get his way, he decided he would hold up the bonds. Itís bad for Maine business, bad for the Maine economy and bad for Maine people.
This is Representative Erik Jorgensen of Portland. Thank you for listening.