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May 29, 2012 | last updated May 29, 2012 11:31 am

LePage vetoes $20M R&D bond proposal

A $20 million bond for research and development approved earlier this month by the Legislature has been vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage. He did not veto the other four bond proposals but didn't sign them, citing his personal objections to additional borrowing.

The vetoed bond proposal was for R&D support in aquaculture, agriculture, composites, forest technology and renewable energy via the Maine Technology Institute. LePage said the Legislature should reduce other spending and fund R&D through the general fund if it indeed is a priority, according to a press release. He also said the majority of the R&D money would have "gone to government programs and not-for-profits," and that "taxpayer dollars should go towards R&D only when we can demonstrate a specific return on that investment." A report by the Maine Development Foundation found, however, that industry receives 55.5% of R&D expenditures and higher education receives 28.8%, according to MaineToday Media.

Despite not receiving his signature, the other four bonds will go to voters in November. Even if Mainers support the borrowing, LePage said his administration "will not spend it until we've lowered our debt significantly." Those bonds total more than $75 million and would fund transportation, higher education and wastewater improvements.

The Legislature will meet this week to consider the R&D bond veto as well as others. LePage also vetoed bills that would limit the bond authority of Maine governmental facilities and increase gaming opportunities for charitable fraternal and veterans' organizations.

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