Today is Election Day. Below is a message from Maine Governor Paul LePage in which he highlights the importance of educating and empowering yourself before heading to the polls.
On November 3, Mainers will have the opportunity to answer three statewide questions. The questions are relatively easy to understand. However, the old adage, the devil is in the details is an understatement this year. The details are worth checking before you check yes or no. For example, there are 13 pages of legislation attached to Question 1. Question 1 will cost Maine taxpayers many millions of dollars.
This is taxpayer-funded welfare for politicians to buy signs, bumper stickers and negative political advertising. It could triple the amount of public funding for some candidates. For a contested primary race, each candidate for Governor would qualify to get up to $1 million. House candidates now get an average of $5,000. This would triple it to $15,000. Senate candidates get an average of $20,000; this would raise it to $60,000. In the general election, each candidate for Governor would qualify to get up to $2 million.
In the last election, the candidates for Governor would have received a total of $15 million in taxpayer funding. I’d rather see that money go toward roads, schools and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Increasing public financing will not keep big money out of politics. This will not limit the activity of political action committees also known as PACs.
You’re not going to hear about these details from those who support Question 1, but in the fine print it is clear what’s going on.
I would also like to take a moment to share the facts about housing bonds, which is the focus of Question 2 on the ballot. The Maine State Housing Authority helps secure funding to build affordable housing for Mainers and in the past two years alone, I have signed for $180 million in housing bonds to support this effort.
Question 2 asks voters if they want to borrow $15 million in General Obligation bonds for housing. Rather than tie up Maine’s general obligation bonding capacity – which has an impact on our state’s credit rating, I believe housing bonds should be issued through Maine Housing, whose mission is to ensure Mainers have affordable and accessible housing.
Question 2 is a feel good bill by legislators who want to appear like they’re solving our affordable housing problem. We must be smart about how the State invests taxpayer money and use our partners like the Maine State Housing Authority strategically.
Before you cast your ballot, take time to learn the facts. Your voice and your vote make a difference in how Maine moves forward – either way. Please vote.
Thank you for listening.