Looks like Mainers have said 'no' to Maine Maritime
November 8, 2012
Of all the highs and lows of Election Day on Tuesday, an issue near and dear to the WorkBoat community has gone largely unreported on: The matter of Maine's Question 2, a question as to whether to approve an $11.2 million state bond that would have provided funds to education, including $500k for Maine Maritime Academy.
While most outlets are still recording the matter as "too close to call," I'm disheartened to say that it looks like the question will not pass, as "no" voters outnumber "yes" voters by more than 12,000 votes with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
Twelve thousand votes is a LOT here in Maine. I don't see how that could be made up by just four percent of precincts.
The question now is, "Why?" We voted on three other bond issues on Tuesday — $5 million for a conservation of land purchase; $51.5 million for transportation (with a little bit for ports, admittedly); and $8 million for wastewater treatment — and all of them passed easily, with more than 60 percent "Yes." But we can't spare $11 million for UMaine and Maine Maritime?
That seems terribly short-sighted. I thought the big issue this year was jobs — what creates more jobs than actually teaching kids how to do those jobs? We need new workers to crew commercial vessels. Everyone says so. But Maine Maritime won't have its $500k "for equipment and to expand necessary infrastructure capital improvements."
Really, there wasn't any news about this bond at all, which is the problem. There was no campaign either way. I think what Mainers did was try to show how frugal and smart they are. Oh, sure, we need roads and bridges and clean water and to preserve land for tourism, but we can't pass ALL these bonds. That would be too spendy!
In reality, now is the PERFECT time to invest in education. Not only do we need a skilled workforce more than ever, but money is incredibly cheap right now. Interest rates are at an all-time low. We should be borrowing now so we won't have to tomorrow.
Alas, it wasn't to be. That's a mistake, fellow Mainers. Just don't complain to me the next time you can't find anyone to crew your boat.