Thank you for your support for Yes on 3. Together, we carried the bond referendum to a strong win on Election Day, with 61.78% (at last count) of the vote. Of the six bond referendum questions on the ballot, just two others earned higher percentages of approval.
In the past two months, the grassroots campaign mobilized to focus on earned media, social media outreach, word of mouth (mentions at conferences and flyer distribution), mentions in member newsletters and an online advertising buy. Thanks in particular to those who spent the time to reach out to local and regional media.
–Mainers for Small Business
From Maine’s renewed downtowns to its working waterfronts to its rural commercial centers, business leaders across the state who champion small business growth and job creation are lending their support to ballot Question 3.
Voting YES on Question 3 will authorize a bond that will continue funding two existing and successful state programs: providing $8 million to the Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program (REDRLP) and $4 million to the companion Commercial Loan Insurance (CLI) program. Since REDRLP was created by the Legislature in 1993, 772 revolving loans of $16.2 million have been disbursed, helping to create and retain about 10,500 jobs in total.
The loan programs have provided Maine’s small business owners access to flexible capital, which is helping to spur the kind of investment and innovation that is revitalizing downtowns and strengthening the rural economy.
Small and micro businesses–Tilton’s Market in Buckfield to Seafax in Cumberland, Molnlycke in Wiscasset, Three Rivers Whitewater in The Forks–have benefitted from the financing available through REDRLP and CLI.
In 2001 Seafax, the leading provider of business information for the food industry in North America received a REDRLP loan through CEI so that owners could purchase a business in turmoil, turn it around and keep 55 jobs in Maine. Since then the company has tripled in revenue, grown its staff to 85 and paid off its loan in full.
The program has also been instrumental in resurrecting small community centers like Tilton’s Market in Buckfield which closed after 75 years in business. Through a loan made by Community Concepts, a new owner was able to purchase and remodel the store, re-opening what residents called the “heart” of the town.
Three Rivers Whitewater benefitted from the CLI program, which provided insurance on the business’ two mortgages, enabling them to get the loan they needed to grow over the past 17 years.
The Bangor Daily News, Kennebec Journal and the Portland Press Herald endorsed Question 3, and it has support from the following businesses leaders and economic development agencies across the state, each of which has had first-hand experience with the benefits that come from the programs funded in Question 3:
Aroostook Partnership for Progress
Seth Berry, House Majority Leader (D-Bowdoinham) and Joyce Maker, State Representative (R-Calais) (Click Here to read their OpEd in the BDN)
CEI (Click Here for an article in the PPH including comments by CEI President and CEO Ron Phillips)
City of Presque Isle
Community Concepts Inc.
Eastern Maine Development Corporation
Economic Development Corporation
Gov. John Baldacci
GrowSmart Maine (Click Here to read Executive Director Nancy Smith’s OpEd in the BDN)
Roger Katz, State Senator (R-Augusta) (Click Here to read Roger’s OpEd in the PPH)
Kennebec Valley Council of Governments
Maine Bankers Association
Maine Chamber of Commerce (Click Here for an article on Q3 in their newsletter)
Maine Community Action Association
Maine Innkeepers Association
Maine Mayors Coalition
Maine Real Estate Development Association (MEREDA)
Maine Tourism Association
Midcoast Council of Governments
Northern Forest Center
Northern Maine Development Commission
Town of Lubec
David Vail, Professor emeritus, Bowdoin College (Click Here to read David’s OpEd in the PPH)
Washington Hancock Community Agency
Yellow Breen, Bangor Savings Bank
Click Here for an overview of Question 3 from the Bangor Daily News
Click Here for an overview of all of the bond questions from the Ellsworth American
Click Here for an article from Mainebiz
The Voter Education Brigade endorsed Question 3