Laboratory bonds

Two referendum questions on November’s ballot will provide major economic boosts to Mount Desert Island if they pass. But they also will do much more.

Question #4 asks, “Do you favor a $10,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $11,000,000 in private and other funds, to build a research center and to discover genetic solutions for cancer and the diseases of aging, to promote job growth and private sector investment in this State, to attract and retain young professionals and make the State a global leader in genomic medicine?”

Its primary beneficiary would be the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor.

Question #5 asks, “Do you favor a $3,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds, to modernize and expand infrastructure in a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration located in the State in order to increase biotechnology workforce training, retain and recruit to the State multiple biomedical research and development groups and create a drug discovery and development facility that will improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity?”

It would provide a major boost to the MDI Biological Laboratory in Salisbury Cove.

Both renowned institutions are at the cutting edge of science, offering great potential for improvements in human health. Beyond the obvious local benefits, these bonds would help advance research that can lead to major discoveries in areas such as healing, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and the understanding of the human genome.

Far too often in Maine, major expenditures that should have been acted upon by the legislature are foisted off onto voters as bond issues. This amounts to additional involuntary taxation imposed outside the bounds of the constitutionally mandated balanced budget.

The burden of repayment, however, falls on taxpayers, often shouldered disproportionately by those of modest means. Meanwhile, the usual beneficiaries of the spending are organizations, institutions or corporations already enjoying access to a wide array of financial and political resources. The prudent fiscal course in most cases in which the legislature has failed to act responsibly is to vote “no.”

But the true and final benefit of passage of these biomedical research bonds rests not where the money will be spent. Ultimately, the good works they underwrite and the additional money these proposals would attract to Maine will increase the promise and hope for better, healthier lives, not just in Maine, not just in the United States, but around the world.

The men and women of MDI’s research facilities always have had global vision at the heart of their missions. Their dedication towards making every one of those hard-earned dollars count will enable further enhancement of that vision, shared by both of our laboratories.

We recommend a yes vote on Bond Issue Questions #4 and #5.

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