AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a $20 million research and development bond, his office announced.

Lawmakers voted to place the bond on the November statewide ballot for approval, but LePage said in his veto statement that the expense is better suited for the operating budget.

“If the Legislature truly believes we should spend $20 million on research and development, then we should reduce spending elsewhere in the budget and pay for it out of the General Fund,” LePage wrote. “Second, the majority of the funds from these bonds in the past have gone to government programs and not-for-profits. Taxpayer dollars should go towards R&D only when we can demonstrate a specific return on that investment. That return must be measured in taxes and jobs. Both of those rightly come in the private sector.”

Lawmakers are expected to meet next week to consider this and other vetoes.

LePage also said he personally opposes four other bond measures and will delay spending the funds, but will let them go to Maine voters in November without his signature. Those bonds would pay for wastewater and water investments, economic development, higher education and roads and bridges.

“While these bond proposals were authorized by Legislators, it does not mean that we need to spend the money. I cannot personally support any of these bonds and will not vote for them at the polls in November,” he said in the written statement. “Even with the voters’ authorization to borrow this money, my Administration will not spend it until we’ve lowered our debt significantly. That could be several years.”

Democratic leaders criticized the governor for blocking the research bond.

“This veto is shortsighted and bad for business,” Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, the House Democratic leader, said in a written statement. “Investments in R&D have paid off. They boost business, create jobs and help our fisherman, farmers, and boat builders.”

The Democrats said Maine has lost more than 1,000 jobs since 2011 and ranks 50th in the nation for personal income growth.

“Why is the Governor turning away opportunity? Blocking targeted investments in R&D will keep Maine at the bottom,” Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, said in the written statement. “We should be doing all we can to encourage innovation, create job opportunities and create the success stories of tomorrow.”

LePage also vetoed two other bills: An Act To Increase Gaming Opportunities for Charitable Fraternal and Veterans’ Organizations and An Act To Limit the Bonding Authority of the Maine Governmental Facilities Authority to Court Facility Projects.