Once the legislature charted the MTTA as a municipal corporation it went about excluding all local governance from the board of directors of the new state owned business development. They used amendments to the original charter to do so. It was not until I read the federal regulations that outline the qualifications for a state grant, that I truly understood the legislature's motivations in excluding all local governance from the board of the MRRA. Local governance disqualifies a project from receiving state grants from the federal governance (I am not a lawyer and so cannot say there is no loophole - however the disqualifying character of local governance is repeated several times in the regulations). On the MRRA website, the MRRA is described as a “non-local unit of government” despite the fact that the charter identifies the MRRA as “a municipal corporation”.
The legislature received little opposition to the usurpation of power beyond its constitutional authority. John Courtney’s assessment is proving to be correct. The Maine State Constitution has been bought & paid for with taxpayer debt. Government chartered business developments such as the MRRA and the Loring Development are promoted as benefiting “state wide interest” but in the charter for the MRRA, the “targeted sector” clearly identifies special interest beneficiaries, the same beneficiaries that have been the “targeted sector" of reams upon reams of legislation written over the last couple of decades. Last summer, when the legislature silently expanded the Pine Tree Zone, originally designed for low income, high unemployment areas to the whole state, they added legally useless words, “including precision manufacturing” after the general manufacturing category, sending a clear message about which special interests they would prefer that the Pine Tree Zone benefits.
The high tech industry so favored by the legislative investment bankers depends in large part on the availability of rare earth minerals found only in China. If one is investing in the private sector, one can hedge that with other investments not so dependent on rare earth minerals, but the tax payer is a captive investor and the legislature assigns no value to all which has not been delegated as “innovative” and “creative”, a government delegation that has an entirely co-incidental relationship to concentrated investment capital.
The only justification offered for claims of a “state wide interest” is that the government is “creating jobs” This is reported by a compliant media, which fails to include any examination of the cost to the taxpayer for the jobs that the government creates. The text of the charter, the eminent domain, and the regulations governing the acceptance of state grants, all go un-reported by the main stream media. As Jon Courtney said- who will mess with all that "money " (otherwise known as tax payer debt). This is truly a case of "there is no wrong done unless caught" and then the wrong becomes very very wrong for it will not be the special beneficiaries of government chartered corporations which repay the federal government if the fraud is discovered, it will be the Maine state tax payer. The longer the MRRA continues to spend the taxpayers money on giving deals you can refuse to private businesses and choice pension plans to its employees, the greater becomes the potential debt covered by Maine state taxpayers if the underlying fraud is discovered.
The Annual report for the MRRA for the years ending in 2009 & 2010 is not listed as a link on the MRRA's website but it is available on line. It sates that certain expenses are not allowed to be funded by state and federal funding sources. Identified are “certain compensated absences”, which contribute to the unfunded balance sheet deficit. The MRRA intends to use future unrestricted income sources to fund these balance sheet shortfalls.
In South Carolina the Supreme Court produced a guideline for what qualifies as “for the public benefit”. The court quotes from the State Attorney General “….citing Anderson v. Baer (1975): “It is not sufficient that an undertaking bring about a remote or indirect public benefit to categorize it as a project within the sphere of “public purpose.”
Maine also needs to establish guidelines as to what authentically qualifies as “public purpose”.
The full correspondence with Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney and well as with Speaker of the House Honorable Robert Nutting is published on my blog, Main Street Economy at http://sma-mainstreeteconomy.blogspot.com. There are also links to the Annual Report for the MRRA and an article on the Supreme Court of South Carolina’s guideline for “public purpose”.