Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

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angler.k
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

Can anyone provide "proof" that Baldacci trasferred money out of the transportation fund to the general fund? I know that the director admitted doing it, but I'd like a web link to back up the fact. Thanks

Doug Thomas
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Highway (Fund) Robbery

By Rep. Jim Annis

Spring has sprung and our roads are showing the effects of an unusual winter. Frost heaves were worse than they’ve ever been. And our cars and pickups now show the results of having to travel over them.

What is the Legislature doing to bring our roads back into shape? Well, there’s $30 million in the supplemental budget for the upkeep of roads for this year. Not near enough, you say? You’re absolutely right, considering Maine’s geographic size. Many in the Legislature feel that highway bonding is frustrating because those bonds seem to be frittered away on other projects.

The Department of Transportation’s Highway Fund budget is constitutionally protected, yet each year various schemes are devising to remove money from the DOT account for unrelated programs. When my wife asked me how they can do that, I responded, “Who’s going to stop them? Please remember, we’re in the minority. And the governor usually gets what he wants.”

Why aren’t the roads in top condition, you ask? Certainly there’s plenty of money allocated to roads each year. What happens to the money? Please let me explain. During the period from 1988 to 2006, a total of $87.5 million was transferred from the General Fund to the Highway Fund, which is over and above the money allocated to the DOT in the regular budget. However, during that same period, a total of $129.5 million was transferred from the Highway Fund to the General Fund. Kind of lopsided, isn’t it? Give a little, take a lot. Overall, during that eight-year period, the Highway Fund suffered a net loss of $43.8 million as it was raided one way or anther.

Where did the money taken from the DOT account go? Some $34 million was taken because it was deemed “unallocated.” Another $13.6 million replaced General Fund revenue sharing to local governments; $8.2 million went to state police funding; $6.5 million went for ferry service; and $6.4 million was used to purchase a DOT building from the state, which deposited the money into the General Fund. Another $5 million came from a deal that saw DOT sell a bridge to the Turnpike Authority, and the money was transferred to the General Fund.

This is just a small part of how your highway funds are being spent. Oh yes, and then we have the personnel services account in the Highway Fund. In 2002, personnel services consumed $123.4 million, or 41.5 percent of the total highway budget. And it’s getting worse! The projected personnel services portion of the highway budget for 2009 will consume 45.2 percent of the Highway Fund, for a total of $182.1 million. That leaves only 54.8 percent of the highway budget to take care of your roads and bridges. And that’s only if we leave the remainder of the funding alone.

So what about bonding, you ask? Why can’t we issue a bond? Many of us in the Legislature feel we are “bonded out.” We owe so much money that our kids and grandkids won’t see the end of payments of the currents bonds. The total outstanding General Obligation bonds, as of December 31, 2005, amount to $468.5 million. And that’s just the beginning. Debt service costs for those bonds for 2006-2007 is $108.67 million for absolutely nothing but interest payments.

Then, of course, interest is applied every year on the unpaid balance. If you’re going to invest in some safe stock, try Maine bonds. It’s a sure thing. And then we have anticipated but unissued bonds amounting to $150 million. Those are bonds waiting in the wings, ready to be spent on various other projects. Bond anticipation notes for 2005-2006 amount to $46.22 million. This makes our total indebtedness in bonds $773.39 million as of this date. And the Transportation Committee, in defiance of Democrat leadership, has submitted a bill calling for bonding $60 million more for roads. Given the track record, we can expect much of that to end up in the General Fund.

The Department of Transportation always submits a budget they believe will adequately cover all highway projects throughout the state. But we, as Legislators and the executive, can’t leave well enough alone. It’s too easy to move money from the DOT account and place it into the accounts of our “pet projects.” And the people of Maine have to put up with giant potholes and the highways to hell. With Maine being “Vacationland” to all our visitors, what must they think when their motor homes and travel trailers start disintegrating on our infamous roads? But hang in there folks. Maybe wiser heads will prevail this fall. Some things take time. After all, it only took six years for Senator Paul Davis and me to get route 15 repaired.

State Rep. Jim Annis, a third-term legislator from Dover-Foxcroft, serves on the Natural Resources Committee

eagleisland
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

Angler, if you dig out the legislation that created the current budget and just wander through it you'll see LOTS of allocations from the highway fund to various departments.

Warning: in general, it's VERY dull reading that still has the ability to make your head asplode.

Punk
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

Doug -

Where and when was that letter from Rep. Annis published?

Thanks,
-pf

cover_maine
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

Highwayfundrobberygate, Dirigogate, MaineCaregate, DMVgate......

(Cue music, Sonny & Cher: "And The Beat Goes On!")

And Baldacci is getting a free pass from the press. :x

La-dee-da-de-dee! La-dee-da-dee-dah!

Heal
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

FYI -- this isn't anything new. Transfers from the Hwy Fund to the General Fund and reverse happen most years and have for at least the last 15.

eagleisland
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

[quote="Heal"]FYI -- this isn't anything new. Transfers from the Hwy Fund to the General Fund and reverse happen most years and have for at least the last 15.[/quote]

I'll assume your 15 years is accurate - it has indeed been going on for some time now.

Heal
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

The most recent fund transfer was supported overwhelmingly by Republicans and Democrats. It's not just a Baldacci manuver.

Doug Thomas
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

[quote="P. Freud"]Doug -

Where and when was that letter from Rep. Annis published?

Thanks,
-pf[/quote]

I think it was in the Piscatiquis Observer which isn't online. I got it as an e-mail from the House Republican office.

If you want to be on the list ask Robb

robert.weaver@legislature.maine.gov

Doug Thomas
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

[quote="Heal"]The most recent fund transfer was supported overwhelmingly by Republicans and Democrats. It's not just a Baldacci manuver.[/quote]

Your wrong Heal. The most recent transfer was moving the Ferry funding from the General Fund to the Highway Fund which cost the Highway Fund about 7 million a year. I offered an Amendment to the Budget Bill that moved it back to the General Fund and it was almost a straight party line vote to table the Amendment.

BlueJay
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Proof Baldacci transfered highway funds?

[quote="Doug Thomas"][quote="P. Freud"]Doug -

Where and when was that letter from Rep. Annis published?

Thanks,
-pf[/quote]

I think it was in the Piscatiquis Observer which isn't online. I got it as an e-mail from the House Republican office.

If you want to be on the list ask Robb

robert.weaver@legislature.maine.gov[/quote]

I think I also saw it in the Moosehead Messenger.

Naran
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Handy reminder thread of the

Handy reminder thread of the continual state siphoning of DOT money to fund other uses.

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