Is Maine too generous in providing social services to its residents? Which government benefits should be increased or decreased?
Maine is on the right track in regards to administration of it social welfare programs. By implementing work requirement and time limits for some programs, thousands of people have rejoined the work force with their dignity intact, while making positive contributions. Further reforms are needed. I can say that I will always favor helping those who have true, insurmountable needs, but as the saying goes, the devil is often in the details.
Do you support expanding or raising the sales tax to lower the state income tax? Why or why not?
I dont support either expanding or raising any taxes. It is absurd to think that we are not paying enough taxes as it is. Absurd. Lets be a whole lot smarter about how we allocate what we do collect and clean up our budget in a way that reflects our priorities as a state.
This proposal is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. The obvious, but not the most important, consequence of full legalization will be the millions of dollars that Maine would reap from the sales tax. This money is in addition to the income property taxes that will be paid by the owners and employees of these operations. In my opinion the most important aspect of legalizing marijuana is we can reduce a major source of revenue for large trafficking networks. Under current law, marijuana is an easy and relatively safe source of income for criminal networks that often engage nefarious activities. Full legalization will have its drawbacks, but in my opinion the benefits of using the free market to fight crime outweigh the potential risks.
This law was not written to ensure criminals can't get their hands on dangerous weapons. This law was written in manner that is going to make a lot of honest people into criminals. This law is going to make it a felony to do things that the average gun owner does on a daily basis. Being a responsible gun owner and storing your guns in a friends gun safe would be a felony. Allowing your friend to fire your new gun on your own land, would be a felony. Hunting is supposedly exempted from this law, but make sure you don't have to cross a road while your borrowing your friends rifle, because that would be a felony. This law contains some exemptions but they are vague and misleading. If this referendum passes many Mainers will unknowingly become criminals.
This proposed law will hurt small businesses disproportionately, while doing very little to increase the standard of living for individuals making minimum wage. An important issue that is too often overlooked is how the cost of living will be affected once a government mandated wage increase is implemented. So often we hear that people cant make a living on the current minimum wage. I am astounded at this most obvious declaration. Of course a person doesnt make a living on minimum wage; it was never intended for that. It is a wage for students, second jobs, and unskilled laborers.
It is a burdensome system that will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. It takes control away from local municipalities and centralizes it in Augusta. The ballots can only be counted by machine and there is no way to verify the count by hand.
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?
Both aspects are equally important. Enforcement efforts must continue to be focused on the interception of traffickers. Treatment options need to be readily available to addicts. An often overlooked aspect of the drug crisis is prevention. Maine can do much better at coordinated drug prevention programs. This is a huge problem and frankly it is also complex. Drug prevention programs should involve both former addicts and law enforcement with first hand experiences.
Is the size of Maines Legislature appropriate? Should the pay for legislative service be increased?
I believe that the size of the legislature is appropriate. The amount of personal money, time, and effort our legislators pour into helping our state is immense. That being said, individuals do not run for the State Legislature for the paycheck. Government expenditures are already too high and we cannot afford to increase the pay of our legislators. I do feel that the governors salary should be substantially increased. It is a disgrace how little he is paid ~ dead last of all 50 states and substantially so.
Would you support sanctioning another elected official if he or she made public comments or statements that were considered racist, offensive or prejudicial?
I would not. I abhor the politically correct climate that currently exists. His constituents have an obligation to vote him out if he is so offensive. If freedom of speech does not apply to unpopular speech, then it is not freedom of speech at all. On the other hand, I would have no difficulty personally appealing to the individual to refrain from speaking in such a repugnant manner.
Would you support a so-called right to work law in Maine?
Absolutely. No one should be compelled to join a Union as a condition of employment. I maintain that Unions are an important and necessary part of the free market and they have historically contributed to safer and economically beneficial working conditions. But I would reiterate that no one should be compelled to join a Union.
What is the biggest barrier to economic development in Maine and what can the Legislature do to address it?
Over regulation and taxation are stifling business opportunities in Maine. High corporate tax rates make Maine an unattractive location for business to start up or relocate. I have heard time and time again from business owners that the state regulation agencies are not on their side. Individuals operating businesses should not be forced to run around to dozens of different agencies every year just to apply for or renew permits for every aspect of their business. The process needs to be streamlined, agencies need to be combined, and the priorities of business should come first. Too often regulators forget that their role is to aid in economic development, not hinder it. High taxes combined with high costs of doing business make Maine an unattractive place to do business.
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?
Our population is aging because our young people are leaving. They are leaving because the cost of living in Maine is very high and the jobs that would support this cost of living simply dont exist. This is indicative of the poor business climate we have in Maine. The State of Maine has no real power over immigration polices of the US. If we create a more business friendly environment we will both retain our young people and attract newcomers to the State.
What is the most pressing issue in Maine these questions have not addressed?
Forbes has ranked Maine 48th out of our 50 states for business friendliness. The citizens of Maine are some of the hardest working in the country, but our strong work ethic matters nothing as we watch our wages and earnings go up in smoke because of high taxes and over-regulation. Taxes need to be lower, and the state needs to fight for business, not against it.