AUGUSTA – Maine’s current general obligation bond debt is about $376 million, but Democrat lawmakers eager to flex their muscle with control of both chambers of the Legislature and the Governor’s office have proposed almost $1.27 billion in new general obligation bond debt in just the first month they have been serving in Augusta.
the Maine Treasurer’s Office, Maine is set to make debt service payments totaling
almost $93 million on Maine’s existing general obligation bond debt this year,
that amount includes over $20 million in interest payments on the existing debt.
Of the twenty
Democrat-sponsored bills to borrow money that are currently up on the Maine
Legislature’s bill tracking website, twelve bills have zero Republican cosponsors.
bipartisan support hasn’t stopped Democrats, however, as most of the borrowing
bills that have failed to win Republican cosponsors are stacked with four to
nine Democrat cosponsors in support of the new borrowing.
One bill, a
bond to expand rural broadband internet access has won four Republican cosponsors
of the nine total cosponsors on the bill.
Constitution, lawmakers must pass general obligation bonds by a 2/3 majority in
both chambers of the Maine Legislature and then the proposal must be approved
by a majority of voters in a statewide vote.
Maine taxpayers are typically on the hook for paying off bonds in a 5 to 10 year time frame, with interest rates varying based on the bond market, the state’s credit rating and the purpose and size of the bond. Maine typically makes payments on bond debt twice a year.
According to Moody’s Investors Service, tax-supported debt per Maine resident is $900. The national median is $986.50.
debt as a percentage of Maine personal income is 2.0%. The national median is
2.1%. (Moody’s Investors Service).