Do you support expanding or raising the sales tax to lower the state income tax? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. All you do there is shift the tax burden onto the middle class and the poor. Sales taxes hit hardest on the poor. Income taxes hit hardest on the rich. Who can better afford to have their budgets trimmed?
The hypocrisy of politicians, who use and abuse alcohol to escape, legislating against the use of a drug that is far less destructive, is unprincipled and unjust. And costly, because of the number of people using the judges' and courts' precious time and warehoused in costly prisons. The War on Drugs has cost taxpayers billions if not trillions of dollars and has been totally ineffective. People still use drugs to escape regardless. Prohibition proved that. Legalize it & tax it, and provide mental health access for those who abuse it and alcohol and nicotine.
I'm a veteran, and I know that criminals will always get the weapons they want, that's a given. But they don't tend to be the mass shooters who are mentally ill, nor are they the terrorists. How is it we put terrorists on a no-fly list, but allow them to purchase weapons, including military assault weapons which should be left to the military? And those who are mentally ill should have access to mental health, not firearms.
The way to end the (tiny amount of) welfare fraud that Republicans complain about is to raise the wages so people dont need welfare and have enough to pay their own way. We need to give a helping hand to those in temporary need, like those who have lost jobs in the mills, until they get back on their feet, but paying food stamps and housing subsidies because businesses want to keep wages low, puts a burden on government and off of the businesses which won't accept all the cost of doing business including paying a living wage. Small businesses should be granted tax breaks for their first five years to offset the extra expense of starting up, but the Walmarts and successful businesses should pay a living wage, not one that is subsidized by government.
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?
That would be counter productive. Substance abuse is a mental health problem that is best treated rather than ignored. Medications are only a step in the process, then mental health treatment for those abusing, and finally a better job situation would help too.
What is the biggest barrier to economic development in Maine and what can the Legislature do to address it?
Qualified workers - Corporations need people accomplished in Engineering, Math, Science etc. as well as skilled craftspeople - electricians, etc. Good paying jobs come from corporations which would like to come to Maine if they could find enough people with those qualifications.
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?
Many jobs in senior care are the same kind of entry level jobs which immigrants can do. Who is going to replace and take care of Maine's aging population if not people who migrate to Maine? Question 14 would also help by bringing in more young people with families.
What is the most pressing issue in Maine these questions have not addressed?
Electing politicians who will be willing to compromise and work together to solve the problems - problems that are far more complicated than sound bite solutions can answer. The Legislature has already learned that they can't win arguments with the governor. They are learning to ignore the governor's tantrums, and are now trying to work together to find bipartisan solutions that he can't veto. I agree with that approach and we need more of it.