Governor Paul R. LePage
|April 27, 2012||
Radio Address: The Truth about Bonds
April 27, 2012
Hello. This is your Governor Paul LePage.
There’s been a lot of talk lately at the State House about bonds. A bond is a fancy word for borrowing money the State doesn’t have.
This past week, a $100 million bond proposal was approved by Legislators. Democrats fought for a much higher level of borrowing.
But, before I can accept any bond proposal we must address the shortfall in the 2013 budget. Our welfare programs have become unaffordable and structural changes must be considered to reduce out of control spending. To achieve savings we must be willing to better align Maine with federal eligibility requirements.
Bonds are not grants; they need to be paid back, just like the hospital bills that the State must pay back.
Currently, Maine hospitals are owed nearly half a billion dollars – a billion with a capital B. Last year, we were able to pay off about $250 million of that debt. And we must continue to reduce that debt before taking on more.
One popular claim Democrats are pushing is that bonds are a means of job creation.
During the Baldacci Administration, Legislators authorized $725 million in bonds.
In that same 8 year period the unemployment rate went from 4.8 percent in 2003 to 8 percent in 2011.
Department of Labor statistics show that only 54 net jobs were created during that time.
Today, the unemployment rate is at 7.2% and no bonds have been sent out to voters in the last year.
Bonds are not the answer to our problems.
The truth is the jobs created by bonds are only temporary. What we can do is save careers by paying our hospital bills.
Many also say we have to borrow money to fix our roads and bridges. I would very much like to do infrastructure work with capital improvement money, and we are. This summer and fall, construction crews throughout the state will be digging, paving and building, which has an immediate positive impact not only on our roads, but on Maine’s economy.
In total, nearly $1 billion will be expended by DOT in 2012 and 2013. Nearly $105 million dollars, from Department of Transportation savings alone, will pay for highway construction projects and bridge repair.
All of these major construction projects will, when completed, help Mainers commute safely and efficiently to work, school and vacation destinations.
Looking down the road, I want Maine families to be prosperous. I want Mainers to be able to enjoy everything our great State has to offer. So, if we are serious about stimulating job growth we can’t expect bonds will save the day.
If we want good paying careers we must invest in our job creators by reducing red tape, lowering taxes, and making structural changes to energy, education and welfare. These are the long-term solutions that can help revive the American Dream for Mainers.
There are more than 40–thousand small businesses that employ thousands of Mainers. These businesses are the bread and butter of our economic engine and we must listen to them.
I have turned many companies around and I am confident Maine can be turned around too. I encourage you to support the progress this Administration has been able to make. I also promise that we will continue to move forward, but we must be willing to work together.
Once again, I encourage Legislators to summon the courage to make the necessary changes to restore Maine’s fiscal health and do the right thing.
Thanks for listening this week. Ann and I hope you have a great weekend.