is Representative Kathleen Dillingham of Oxford, the Republican Leader of the
Since our last address, Governor Mills has called the Legislature back for a Special Session on Monday, August 26.
purpose is to consider bond proposals and two other pieces of legislation, one
concerning the Franklin County Commissioners and another dealing with the Ocean
School in Searsport.
Special Session will cost Maine taxpayers approximately $42,000 more, because
it is above and beyond what was budgeted.
have to be called into Special Session at all. The Mills Administration and
Democrats know that our roads and bridges are in tough shape. We should have
already passed a transportation bond and finished our work on bonding in June.
history on how we got here.
Administration and Democrats increased the state budget by 11%, spending
99.995% of all available state monies, including the surplus accumulated under
the previous Administration.
along with Democrats, then proposed to borrow $239 million to fund projects
that were not contained in the budget. Their omnibus borrowing plan lumped
several different spending items together.
Republicans repeatedly requested that the borrowing proposals be considered
separately, like Maine voters would be asked to consider them at the polls this
refused and their $239 million request failed.
roads and bridges are in need of repair and several DOT projects were cancelled
last spring, House Republicans then proposed passing a stand-alone $105 million
dollar transportation bond in time for voters to consider it this November.
The plan we
supported, authorized the issuance of bonds for projects such as reconstruction
and rehabilitation of highways, bridges and culverts and for facilities or
equipment related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and
passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails.
rejected that plan and we adjourned without a transportation proposal to submit
Now, in a
Special Session, we are to consider many of the same bond proposals that were
rejected earlier, this time individually, just as we had requested back in June.
are pleased that each bond proposal will now be considered separately, but it
should have happened during the legislative session.
Republicans are also pleased that the overall total has been reduced from the
bloated $239 million to a more reasonable amount of $163 million, but we still
question the need for many of the other proposed bonds at this time. If
indeed a priority, why could it not have been funded within the over $8 billion
indicates that nothing appears to be a true priority with this administration
and the democrat majority.
As we have
already stated, Republicans will support the $105 million transportation bond,
because we believe it qualifies as an emergency and is a clear priority for our
items, which appear worthy, such as the broadband bond has yet to be presented
with a clear direction as to what the department hopes to accomplish with the
proposed $15 million in borrowing.
we were told by the Commissioner of DECD that there would be a comprehensive
long-term plan for broadband in Maine.
several times for the plan, our office was eventually told that it was the same
plan that had been developed by the LePage administration.
I have asked
the Commissioner’s office several times for an update on progress in the area
or more details, none were provided before being asked to vote on the bond
package in June and here we are, days out from another vote and as of this
recording, our office has not been provided with any further details.
In 2018, the
people of Maine passed a $30,000,000 bond for wastewater treatment, a
$49,000,000 bond to expand workforce development capacity and improve the
facilities and infrastructure of Maine’s public universities and a $15,000,000
bond to improve educational programs by upgrading facilities at all 7 of
Maine’s Community colleges.
In 2015, we
passed a bond for $15,000,000 for energy-efficient homes.
In 2014, we
passed $8,000,000 to monitor health issues related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs,
$19,000,000 for small business loans and capital investments, $13,000,000 for
investment in genetic and bioresearch facilities, $10,000,000 for drinking
water and restoration of wetlands, and $7,000,000 to support the State’s marine
comprise a portion of Maine’s $480 million dollar general obligation bond debt,
in addition to a total of $396 million dollars that was bonded for
transportation over the same period of time.
of Maine supported these bonds, but have any reports been done to determine if
they successfully yielding intended results?
considering further borrowing, we should be cognizant of our current bonding
obligations and place priorities on true needs for the people of Maine, not
With this in
mind, additional bonding should be considered with the following questions in
Are they necessary, targeted and specific? Can we have some assurance that they will be effective based on past results?
Are they emergencies that require action now, or can they be considered in January?
Republicans remain concerned that the hallmark of one-party rule is excessive
spending brought on by a total lack of priorities.
have worked very hard to help create a strong economy, practice fiscal
restraint, maintain modest debt and create a budget surplus.
millions of dollars to taxpayers and reduced the size of government.
was a more prosperous Maine, where limited resources were targeted to those
most in need, not special interests.
since Democrats took complete control of Maine government, we have seen a total
lack of restraint and an inability to set priorities.
Republicans will continue to propose and support a return to the policies that
help all Mainers, not narrow identity groups.
been Representative Kathleen Dillingham with the Republican Radio Address,
thank you for listening.
Rep. Kathleen Dillingham represents House District 72: Mechanic Falls, Otisfield and Oxford. She is the Republican Leader of the Maine House of Representatives.