To the Editor:
Last month, Great Northern Paper filed for bankruptcy, taking with it dozens of old economy jobs and a $20 million unsecured loan provided by taxpayers.
A month later, up the road in Bucksport, Verso Paper announced it was shutting down, removing another 70 jobs from Maine’s payroll.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Maine invested in a growth industry instead? One that’s homegrown and would lead to quality, well-paying jobs can be found right here on Mount Desert Island? On Nov. 4, we will have that opportunity.
Voting Yes on Question 5 would authorize the state to issue $3 million in bonds – market-driven financial instruments that will be fully repaid, as opposed to an unsecured loan – so MDI Biological Laboratory can build a 3,000-square-foot training facility here in Bar Harbor.
The lab has trained about 2,000 Maine students for 21st-century jobs in only the last decade. Often, these students come from outside Maine, are educated here, and then stay in staff positions at MDIBL, Jackson Lab and other dynamic Maine institutions doing cutting-edge, 21st-century health research leading to advances in medicine such as regenerating heart tissue.
This bond would help reverse Maine’s brain drain.
The lab estimates that in addition to the construction jobs, 20 additional permanent full-time jobs will be created in the bond-funded expansion. The lab’s training capacity will increase by about 40 percent over five years.
Opponents say it’s not the taxpayer who should fund private enterprise.
It’s not often that Maine has a clear chance to step up to help create economic opportunities for local people in well-paying growth industries.
Vote Yes on 5 on Nov. 4.