Is Maine too generous in providing social services to its residents? Which government benefits should be increased or decreased?
I believe that social service benefits should be used and structured for temporary assistance. There needs to be a means to getting able bodied persons self supporting with work requirements, training or educational opportunities. The benefits need to be tied to necessities and monitored for any abuse.
Do you support expanding or raising the sales tax to lower the state income tax? Why or why not?
I do believe we need to lower the tax burden of all Maine citizens. I would need to see the entire proposal before supporting or rejecting. I do not believe we can eliminate the income tax entirely. I am concerned with expanding the sales tax that simply takes money from one pocket and puts it in another with no net gain to the taxpayer. Lowering the cost of government would be my preferred means of paying for tax cuts.
To raise the upper income tax bracket to 10.15% will make Maine the second highest income taxed state in the country only behind California. This proposal will be a jobs and economic disaster for this state. No new companies will relocate and many will leave. This state derives plenty of revenue from these individuals and companies now. I agree we need to get more resources into the classrooms and to the teachers.The current educational funding formula is broken and needs to be fixed.
I am very concerned about the way the bill is written and the unintended consequences. The bill creates a criminal offense for a neighbor loaning another neighbor a gun without doing a background check and that has to happen each time the gun is loaned. If the intent of the bill was to close a single loophole for private sales of guns, why was the loaning of a gun, to a friend or neighbor, also included? Background checks are already required at gun shows. As currently written I oppose this measure.
This proposal is a job killer for northern and rural Maine and for every teenager attempting to start a career or find a summer job. I twill raise the cost of everything in this state from food, clothing and rents. This should be defeated and a modest change brought forward through the legislature that looks at wage scales and territorial differences before implementation.
Should Maine prioritize law enforcement efforts to intercept drug traffickers over expanding access to substance abuse treatment, such those that incorporates medications like methadone and Suboxone?
I believe all of the above and whatever other measures needed to attack this very serious problem. There are no simple answers to this very complex problem. Greater law enforcement, treatment and education all need to be addressed.
Is the size of Maines Legislature appropriate? Should the pay for legislative service be increased?
I believe the current size of the Legislature is adequate to serve the needs of the citizens. I do not believe that the pay should be increased. This should not be a career but a public service for a part-time legislator.
Would you support sanctioning another elected official if he or she made public comments or statements that were considered racist, offensive or prejudicial?
There is no easy answer to this question. Certainly each branch of government, and the individual bodies within that branch, can censure or sanction one of its own members for misdeeds. But one branch does not have the authority to censure or sanction another separate branch, other than what is provided for under the constitution and that would be impeachment for a high crime or misdemeanor. I do support a constitutional amendment that would provide a citizens recall provision of a state elected official but under very strict circumstances and controls.
Would you support a so-called right to work law in Maine?
Yes, I do believe a person should not be forced to join any organization against their will in order to take a job. If a person wants to join that is perfectly fine but should not be forced and pay dues to an organization they may have differences with politically or otherwise.
What is the biggest barrier to economic development in Maine and what can the Legislature do to address it?
The ever increasing costs of doing business in this state. From over regulations to high energy costs, it is difficult to attract new industry or for existing businesses to expand. We need to invest in and expand broadband services throughout the state.
Census data show Maines population is aging and decreasing, with some economists suggesting that immigration is the best way to reverse those trends. What should the state do to address this demographic trend?
We have a high unemployment level in some parts of the state and a desperate needs for workers in other parts. We need to find ways of connecting the unemployed with the employers needing workers. This requires relocation, training and assistance. I would prefer that we employ Mainers already here than bringing in new workers from away