Sunday, May 19, 2013
On the eve of the return of the Legislature, proponents of a proposed Land for Maine's Future bond gathered in the Hall of Flags today to try to drum up support.
They say the $5 million bond, which is a bill sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, will conserve natural resources and create jobs. Five times already, dating back to 1987, voters in Maine have approved spending money on the program.
"The needs for LMF couldn't be more important than they are today," Katz said.
The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine is on board too, and even asking for more money to be spent. David Trahan, SAM's executive director, said they want to ensure access for hunters and fishermen, and preserving important habitat for things such as wild brook trout.
The LMF bond is one of five approved by the Appropriations Committee. They total $96 million, and will be voted on individually when lawmakers return this week. Bonds need two-thirds support, and Democrats have argued for even larger investments, so it appears they will likely pass.
But the big question is whether Gov. Paul LePage will come on board. His spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, said the governor wants lawmakers to pass the budget first, then he'll consider bonds.
"He's fiscally prudent and he wants to get a handle on spending before we take a closer look at borrowing," she said.
As a candidate in 2010, LePage said he would not support a Land for Maine's Future bond, at least not the $9.75 million that was on the ballot that year.
Here's what we reported back then:
When it comes to the Land for Maine's Future program, all candidates but LePage said they would support a bond on the November ballot that calls for the state to borrow $9.75 million for the program. LePage said he supports the other bond on the ballot, which is $5 million for new dental services in Maine.
“All other bond issues are putting shackles on the next governor,” he said.Tweet
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John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
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Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
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Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
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Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
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