Intent and Content Prepared by the Office of the Attorney General This Act would authorize the State to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $55,000,000 to raise funds for purposes of economic development. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State. Proceeds of the sale of the bonds would be expended as follows: $50,000,000 would be distributed by the Maine Technology Institute through awards for capital expenditures for research, development and commercialization projects in Maine. The funds would be allocated to projects in the areas of biotechnology, aquaculture and marine technology, composite materials technology, environmental technology, advanced technologies for forestry and agriculture, information technology and precision manufacturing technology, in accordance with the priorities set forth in the Science and Technology Action Plan for Maine prepared by the Office of Innovation in 2005. Funds would be awarded to public and private entities in Maine through a competitive process, and recipients would be required to match these State dollars with an equivalent amount of federal or private funds. $1,500,000 would be distributed by the Finance Authority of Maine through the existing Economic Recovery Loan Program, which provides loans to Maine businesses that do not have sufficient access to credit but demonstrate the ability to survive, preserve and create jobs and repay the obligations. Projects that may be financed must pertain to manufacturing, industrial, recreational or natural resource enterprises in Maine that are determined by the Authority to provide significant public benefits in relation to the amount of the loan. The requirements for this program are more fully set forth in Title 10 M.R.S.A. section 1026-J and in rules developed by the Finance Authority of Maine. $1,000,000 would be distributed in the form of loans through the existing Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program administered by the Finance Authority of Maine through regional and local economic development agencies to provide assistance to businesses that need it in order to create or retain jobs. To be eligible for a loan, businesses must have sales of under $5 million and fewer than 51 employees and must be conducting business in advanced manufacturing technologies, advanced information systems, advanced biological or natural resource technologies, a defense industry conversion, significant export of goods or services, significant research and development activities; be a micro-business with fewer than 5 employees; or be a qualifying childcare project. The requirements for this program are more fully set forth in Title 10 M.R.S.A. section 1026-M and in rules developed by the Finance Authority of Maine. $1,000,000 would be placed in the existing Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund, which is a program administered by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources and the Finance Authority of Maine, pursuant to Title 10 M.R.S.A. section 1023-J, Title 7 M.R.S.A. chapter 101, subchapter 1-D. The funds would be used to provide loans to Maine businesses engaged in commercial growing or harvesting of plants, raising animals, aquaculture, or processing, storing, packaging or marketing products produced by those businesses. Loans may be used for the design, construction or improvement of commodity and storage buildings and packing and marketing facilities, or for the construction, renovation or acquisition of land, buildings, equipment, docks, wharves, piers, or vessels, located in the State of Maine and used in connection with an agricultural enterprise. $1,500,000 would be distributed in the form of low interest loans by the Maine Rural Development Authority for the development of new commercial facilities and the acquisition and redevelopment of commercial facilities not currently in productive use in order to create employment opportunities and other economic benefits. The eligibility criteria for these loans are set forth in Title 5 M.R.S.A., Chapter 385, Subchapter IX and the Authority's rules. If approved, the bond authorization would take effect 30 days after the Governor's proclamation of the vote. A statement of the Treasurer describing the financial considerations of this bond issue is published together with this statement. A "YES" vote approves the authorization of the $55,000,000 bond issue to finance all of the above activities. A "NO" vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety. (4210)
Do you favor a bond issue to stimulate economic development and job creation that would provide $5,000,000 in loans and grant funds and would provide $50,000,000 in research, development and commercialization funds for targeted technology sectors, awarded after a competitive process administered by the Maine Technology Institute, and will leverage at least $50,000,000 in other funds?