Is Maine too generous in providing social services to its residents? Which government benefits should be increased or decreased?
Demonizing those in need has never been a constructive practice. Ensuring that there is a fair system in which those who require support are able to receive it and those who have sufficient means do not receive it is a fair and just method of ensuring that families have the proper services.There are many struggling families, children and seniors who require proper nutrition, quality medical care, and safe, decent housing. There are many families who receive services who are the working poor. They juggle many jobs and cannot make ends meet. The best way to end dependence is by ensuring that we support businesses who can create the good jobs that will pay families a decent living wage.
One of government's major roles is to promote the social welfare. Striking the
right balance of social services is made up of many difficult choices. Is an individual able bodied or not. Is one in a situation through no fault of their own or is it through bad choices and lifestyles. Is one a Maine resident or not. I do not believe that we are too generous, I believe that we are out of balance.
This will have a crippling affect on Maine business and the economy. Also, the generated revenue is in no way guaranteed that is will benefit any child. The increased taxes will simply go into the general fund and be appropriated however the Legislature sees fit. This surtax will make Maine the second highest income tax in the nation. It WILL drive people from Maine to New Hampshire and Florida. When people leave Maine they take with them all their consumer spending on goods and services and all their charitable contributions as well. Maine must remain competitive with other states when it comes to taxes.
This will be the single most destructive action to the economy in the last 50 years. Businesses will go out of business. Business will flee the state and labor will flee the state because there will be no jobs.
Although plurality elections are not as good as majority elections, the way the proposed law is written is flawed. Only the second choice of the third place candidate will be counted giving the lowest minority of voters the right to vote twice.
Is the size of Maines Legislature appropriate? Should the pay for legislative service be increased?
The size of the legislature seems adequate. Unfortunately, the pay is so low that only those who have the means to do so, or have a job whose structure permits them to work off site, or are retired can actually afford to serve. Nothing saddens me more than hearing that legislators stock shelves on the night shift, or work as tutors or carpenters and painters on weekends to make ends meet.
The House of Representatives should be reduced to 99 members and the Senate to 33. The pay should stay the same. The best thing about the Maine legislature is that it is a citizen legislature, it should never become a professional legislature.
Would you support sanctioning another elected official if he or she made public comments or statements that were considered racist, offensive or prejudicial?
Yes, I would. The standards for the code of conduct for those who serve the state of Maine should be no less than those in private sector. In fact, we should be held to an even higher standard that respects differences.
What is the biggest barrier to economic development in Maine and what can the Legislature do to address it?
Economic growth in Maine will most likely come from helping small businesses grow, helping entrepreneurs with start up businesses, and working in partnership with universities, junior colleges, trade schools, and high schools to ensure a quality workforce able to step into the jobs of tomorrow. We must provide every assistance, tax credit, improvement of infrastructure, and incentive to attract business. As one of the grayest states in the union, we have an incredible wealth of retired talent in our state who could mentor start up businesses. I would like to have a role in making business successful and teaching the rest of the world that there is no better work ethic than that of Maine workers.
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 must welcome those who come to us from other countries and tap into the rich resources that they bring and the jobs that they create not just for members of their own community but for those outside their community. There are many people from other countries who have been very successful here in Maine and we must do everything possible to celebrate and publicize their success.
Maine cannot exist alone on tourism and retirees. We must expand our light manufacturing base. The paper mills are gone but we have a unique opportunity to expand to light manufacturing. If one has a job Maine is definitely the way life should be. We need to attract more people to the state and prevent our kids from leaving the state by promoting jobs and job security.
What is the most pressing issue in Maine these questions have not addressed?
The most pressing problem we have in Maine is the failed leadership of the CEO of our state. Until we are able to address that, our reputation will suffer throughout the country. Anger and rage have no business being displayed in public or in private by anyone who holds a high level of power.