Question 4: University of Maine

The Gist

Approving this question would allow the state to borrow $49 million, matched by $49 million in private and public funds, to improve facilities and infrastructure at the University of Maine campuses.

Ballot Question

“Do you favor a $49,000,000 bond issue to be matched by at least $49,000,000 in private and public funds to modernize and improve the facilities and infrastructure of Maine's public universities in order to expand workforce development capacity and to attract and retain students to strengthen Maine's economy and future workforce?” [2]

Yes Means

I support borrowing money for University of Maine facility and infrastructure upgrades.

No Means

I do not want to borrow money for University of Maine facility and infrastructure upgrades.

Tell Me More

If this question is approved, it will allow the state to borrow up to $49 million to improve dormitories, laboratories, and classrooms for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, nursing, and childcare programs, career centers, and facilities for first-generation and non-traditional students at University of Maine system campuses.  This money will be matched by private and public funds that don’t have to be paid back. [4]

This is a bond issue -- if voters approve the bond, it means that the State of Maine is allowed to borrow money for the project described in the ballot question and has to pay it back over 10 years. [3] Learn more about how bonds work.

Follow the Money

Principal: $49,000,000

Interest: $13,475,000 (assumes 5.0% over 10 years)

Total cost: $62,475,000 [4]

The money will be used to:

  • Pay for improvements to dormitories, laboratories, and classrooms for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, nursing, and childcare programs, career centers, and facilities for first-generation and non-traditional students at University of Maine system campuses. [4]

The money will be coming from:

  • $49 million bond issued by the state and paid back through the budget and taxes over 10 years. [4]

  • $49 million in matching funds from public and private sources [4]

Pros

The primary arguments for this referendum are:

  • Improved facilities will make Maine’s university campuses more attractive to students, allowing the state to acquire and retain talent.

  • Improving laboratories and information technology will provide better education to students and provide better-educated workers to Maine employers, addressing Maine’s labor shortage. [5]

  • Issuing the bond opens up matching funds.

  • Interest rates are currently low, making it a good time to invest. [3]

Cons

The primary arguments against this referendum are:

  • Maine already has $106,258,509 in outstanding bond debt that this will add to and it could lead to increased taxes. [4]

Who Cares

Support

  • University of Maine [5]

  • Maine State Chamber of Commerce [5]

  • University of Maine Alumni Association [5]

Opposition

Nobody has registered support or opposition to this bond. [1]

Further Reading

Full Text

Ballotpedia Article

Maine Public Article

References

[1] Ballotpedia State Desk. Maine Question 4, University of Maine System Bond Issue (2018). Ballotpedia.  Accessed October 11, 2018.

[2] Maine State Legislature. H.P. 585 - L.D. 836. Accessed October 11, 2018

[3] League of Women Voters. League of Women Voters, Maine 2018 General Election Voter Guide (2018). Accessed October 11, 2018.

[4] Dunlap, Matthew. Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election. Accessed October 11, 2018.

[5] Feinberg, Robbie. University Officials Say That Question 4 Can Help Address Maine Labor Shortage. Maine Public. Accessed October 21, 2018.