Top legislative leaders called on Governor Paul LePage to allow jobs bonds to move forward in time for the construction season. The call comes 25 days after Governor LePage reneged on releasing bond monies slated for state-wide construction projects.

 “In record time, the Appropriations Committee passed Governor LePage’s bill. He got everything he wanted and in the time frame he wanted it. Now it is his duty to do what only he can do: release the bonds,” said Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick.  

 Last month, Governor LePage emailed the state treasurer and reneged on $53 million in statewide jobs bond contracts he had authorized last July. According to the Governor’s chief financial officer, if Governor LePage does not take action, shovel-ready Department of Transportation projects will not go out to bid and will miss this year’s construction season.

 “Yet again, bonds, projects, and construction jobs have been held hostage by the governor for his own political gain. This is no way to run the state. This is no way to help our economy and it’s certainly no way to put people back to work,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “There are no more excuses: it’s time for Governor LePage to keep his word and release the bonds.”

 On Friday, the state’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee passed a compromise bill that has the Governor’s proposal to replenish the state’s budget stabilization or “rainy day” fund. The measure also includes key initiatives for FY15, including restoring critical funds for local education and Head Start, student aid for higher education, and merit and longevity pay for state employees, including state police.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maine ranks 50th in the country for private-sector job growth under Governor LePage’s leadership.

As other New England states have recovered all of the jobs they lost during the recession, Maine has recovered only one-third.

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