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If Maine Voters pass Water Front Bond- Will It Go to Aqua Ventus Windmill Project?


I feel torn between the feeling that I am spending too much time on this blog- and the short amount of time before elections. I would like to write a longer posts on the Bonds issues, so nicely packaged as "creating Jobs" for rural people, small businesses and the waterfront, which means more capital in the hands of Maine's un-elected boards of Maine's unconstitutional corporations, quasi's and "business consortium" -raising questions such as "If the waterfront bond is passed- how much of it will be channeled to the state's own business consortium - Aqua Ventus? When the state wanted in on the windmill business that had been granted by PUC to Statoil, that was easy- just rewrite the PUC regulations and drive Statoil out! It worked like a charm but when it came to recieving the 47 million of freshly printed dollars from the feds that Statoil was scheduled to get- Aqua Ventus recieved only three million and so might be really grovelling for money at this point- just speculation on my part- but people should be speculating and not just swallowing the carefully parsed words of our legislature, which every election  seeks ways to dig deeper into taxpayer pockets to finance their investment banking activities and to further concentrate available capital in Maine in the hands of Maine's largest corporation- that corporation which goes without a name but which I call Maine State Inc.

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2013 the Maine legislature instructs the PUC to put contract negotiations for windmill construction on hold and reissue the RFP, with the caveat that would-be applicants respond by Sept. 1. The windmill project had been awarded to Norwegian company Statoil.

2013 July Statoil Abandons Offshore Wind Pilot2013 Aug 27 Certificate of Formation of MAINE AQUA VENTUS 1 GP LLC filed at Maine Secretary of State's Office.
The revised RFP, issued July 9, opened the door for Maine Aqua VentUS - a partnership consisting of Maine Prime Technologies (a spin-off from the University of Maine's DeepCWind consortium), construction services provider Cianbro and Nova Scotia utility Emera. The 12 MW floating offshore pilot project would comprise two turbines based on the University of Maine’s VolturnUS technology.
In the same legislative session the "Expanded and Improved Seed Capital Tax Credit" was passed (unanimously by Maine Senate). The media reported that the passing of the Seed Capital Tax Credit renewal as urgent because Maine needs outside capital investment- the more so having just chased foreign investor Statoil out of the state with banana republic tactics - but I said that- the Maine media didn't mention it.
There is also the issue of what  Maine constitution says about public debt limit- and how that is side swiped by "Refundable Tax Credits" especially as they are combined with Pine Tree Zone tax exemptions. The Fiscal note for the Seed Capital tax Credit used the term "reduced revenue" in stead of "debt". It could be because next year the amount that the Seed Capital Tax Credit "reduces revenue" exceeds the constitutional debt limit.

Article IX.

General Provisions.

Section 14.  Authority and procedure for issuance of bonds.The credit of the State shall not be directly or indirectly loaned in any case, except as provided in sections 14-A, 14-B, 14-C and 14-D.  The Legislature shall not create any debt or debts, liability or liabilities, on behalf of the State, which shall singly, or in the aggregate, with previous debts and liabilities hereafter incurred at any one time, exceed $2,000,000, except to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or for purposes of war, and except for temporary loans to be paid out of money raised by taxation during the fiscal year in which they are made, and except for loans to be repaid within 12 months with federal transportation funds in amounts not to exceed 50% of transportation funds appropriated by the federal government in the prior federal fiscal year; and excepting also that whenever 2/3 of both Houses shall deem it necessary, by proper enactment ratified by a majority of the electors voting thereon at a general or special election. Read More HERE (emphasis mine)

Fiscal Note for the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit
"Amending the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program as proposed in this legislation would reduce General Fund revenue by approximately $455,000 in FY 2013-14, $1,300,000 in FY 2014-15 and $2,200,000 in FY 2015-16. Municipal Revenue Sharing would experience a slight reduction as well. Additional administrative costs incurred by Maine Revenue Services can be absorbed with in existing budgeted resources." 

There is an argument for using the term "reduces revenue" for a standard tax credit- but this is a "refundable tax credit" which means if investor owes no taxes- taxpayers owe investor a cash pay out equal to up to 60% of his investment. The Expanded and Improved Seed Capital Tax Credit" ( ) expanded the credit to non-residents who do not owe Maine taxes. The Pine Tree Zone Tax exemption exempts investors in targeted sector from taxes- so how likely is it that any of the recipients of the Seed Capital Tax Credit actually owe any taxes making it a "debt "and not a "reduction in revenue"- And that one tax credit takes the debt over constitutional limit without ever being voted on by electorate.

The Constitution requires the amount of bond debt to be listed on the ballot with questions seeking public approval for further bond debt but says nothing about "refundable tax credits" and other financial instruments developed by Maine State Inc- perhaps because the authors of our constitution never imagined that the state of Maine would eventually be transformed into a corporation by lawmakers who incrementally over rule the constitution confident that- as they say in high circles -"Nobody reads the Maine Constitution".


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