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Maine Public Must Take The Reigns In A Substantively Resourced Bond Debatee

This editorial

‘Conservation Priorities’ response

makes some important points that are not often discussed in our Maine main stream media. It describes the land trust interests which have been acquiring land on a tax exempt status as a united network of corporatons, and ties the effect of the tax exempt status to the economic burden of rural communities.

For the past 30 years, preservationists have aggressively pursued land acquisition — sometimes at the expense of the taxpayer, sometimes with the support of private funding. The $126 million borrowed by Maine taxpayers, to be repaid by future generations, has been used to acquire 530,000 acres of the total 1.8 million, or roughly 30 percent. The remaining 70 percent was acquired through collaborative efforts with Maine’s land trust community.

With Governor LePage's veto of the research & development  bonds and refusal to sign off on the other bonds, igniting a debate between those who claim that the bonds serve to create jobs in "industry" and LePage who claims that the private sector does not benefit, it is time for the people of Maine to play an active role in making this a truly investigative debate.

In that spirit, the issues raised in ‘Conservation Priorities’ response and associated issues relating to the plethora of "funds" that the legislature has created over the past decades need to be a substantive resource in the debate. Few, if any, of the specially chartered corporations serve  municipal purposes- the only exception granted by Article IV Part Third, Section 14 of the Maine state constitution - other than the rarely applicable- "can't be done any other way" exception- to the Maine state constitutional prohibition against our legislature chartering corporations.

Article IV Part Third, Section 14 of the Maine State constitution then goes on to say that all corporations however formed are subject to general law.

If one searches for corporations that have been chartered by special act of legislation at state bureau of corporations they are not to be found. I recently learned that they are separately filed in the legislature's library. Two weeks ago I requested the annual reports for The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, The Loring Authority, and the Small Enterprise Growth Fund. The annual report for Maine Technology Institute should be added to the list- for where does one expect that the bond money for research and development, which Governor Lepage vetoed, was intended to go - if not MTI? - MTI being a government chartered non-profit corporation? All corporations qualified as as a "quasi" should also be qualified as government since all quasis are created by and tied to the government.

At this point in the debate, each side has presented only rhetoric, although LePage has demanded that research & development funds directly show that jobs are created in the private economy. The "Democrats" in the legislature claims that r&d funding has benefited "industry" and Lepage has claimed that r&d funds mostly benefit government and non-profits.

Considering the entrenched network of "funds" that the legislature has created for the benefit of its "targeted sector", which is inclusive of all things green energy and high tech, where would one expect that r&d bonds and other monies collected from the taxpayer are going, if not the network of "funds" that is used to redistribute wealth to the "targeted sector", which usually is listed as education, health care, green energy, new tech or high tech, and the financial industry.

With the corporations chartered by special act of legislation filed separately in the legislative library- what type of governmental system does this picture paint? The legislature library is like the central depository of all the capital investment records of the corporate state- the information base from which the state manages the distribution of capital -or as some would say "the means of production". What is the common name for a system in which the government controls the means of production?

Is the bond debate going to be just a rhetorical debate with one side saying this and the other side saying that and no real numbers and figures to back any of it up?

OR- Is the public going to take the reigns and play an active role in the system? I submit that the public must demand fact based substantiation to claims being made and that those facts are largely to be found in the corporate records that are separately filed in the legislative library. The public has a right to know- and if the public does not demand it, it is the public that is shirking the role of its responsibility in the whole system. Lest we forget the public servants work for the public and that implies that the public has central responsibility.


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