Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, is receiving unwarranted criticism as he works to pass his bill, which would amend the law governing the issuance of bonds. I introduced a similar bill in 2013 in response to this question: “Do the laws governing the issuance of bonds provide for an appropriate balance between the Legislature, the executive branch, and Maine citizens?”

Katz, is seeking to answer this, as yet, unanswered question. His is a “good governance” bill, seeking to ensure that the people’s voice is honored as the executive branch uses its power to move important policy issues.

There are good reasons for the executive branch not to issue approved bonds, e.g., concerns about the level of state indebtedness, bond rating, interest rates, etc. However, Gov. Paul LePage has found that he has the authority to withhold bonds, in this case a Land for Maine’s Future bond, to further a commendable initiative to help the poor by harvesting more wood on public lands. He is using it as leverage against those forces that oppose this important initiative. Whether you agree or disagree on this, right now… that is his call.

So, the issue is not whether the governor is following existing law, but rather should any governor have the ability to withhold bonds to further other important policy issues? This is the question being asked and one that the Legislature must answer by approving Katz’ bill!

Dennis L. Keschl

Former State Representative

Belgrade


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