We need to evaluate all federal,state,and local benefit programs to make sure money is being spent correctly and to eliminate overlapping. If possible after this evaluation services could be offered to the thousands of severely handicapped people on waiting lists. Some waiting for years for services.
Do you support expanding or raising the sales tax to lower the state income tax? Why or why not?
No I don't support expanding the sales tax in order to cut income taxes at this time. I support increasing state revenues by creating more small businesses and jobs in Maine.
In addition, I think the income tax is a more reliable source of revenue than sales taxes.
Yes. Everyone pays sales tax. I am however, very cautious as to how it is expanded. Basic necessities of life should not be taxed. Our spending needs to be brought under control.We spend far to much money.
The income tax is a job killer.
I see no reason for marijuana to be illegal or for police to spend their valuable time arresting marijuana users. Alcohol is legal, yet it poses a much greater risk of addiction, which harms individuals, families and communities. The experiment to outlaw alcohol in the USA failed: the experiment to outlaw cannabis should also fail.
Maine will have the 2nd highest income tax rate in the U.S. behind only California if this passes. We have a huge shortage proffsionals working in Maine. We need doctors, nurses, engineers etc. This will cause them not to come here and for others to leave.
Many of our small businesses are already paying above minimum wages because they value their employees and want them to stay. When companies don't pay a living wage, it is often the taxpayers who end up subsidizing their employees with food stamps or other benefits.
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?
No, Maine needs a balanced approach to our drug and alcohol abuse epidemic.Law enforcement can step up efforts to stop drug traffickers, but that approach alone will not be effective in reducing the opiate crisis. I believe addiction requires intensive medical intervention and addicts in Maine have very limited access to such treatment. This is especially true for pregnant women and mothers.
Is the size of Maines Legislature appropriate? Should the pay for legislative service be increased?
I think the size of the House is appropriate, but Senate Districts can be extremely large geographic areas and may require two senators per district.
If we want a more representative sample of Mainers in the legislature, the pay should be increased to the average salary in Maine.
What is the biggest barrier to economic development in Maine and what can the Legislature do to address it?
I don't know what the biggest barrier to economic development is, but I can name a few that are very important. One, the workforce in Maine is under-trained and under-educated, in part because post-high school education is too expensive for many families. The legislature can address the problem by giving more funding to higher education institutions. Currently, Maine invests only 4% of its budget in higher education.
Two, the state is fairly lavish with corporate tax exemptions, but doesn't do enough to support small businesses. The legislature could cut back on subsidies to large corporations and increase them for small business.
Three, looking backward to past industries rather than anticipating future needs is holding Maine back from growing a robust economy. Legislation needs to embrace new technologies. An example is the solar bill which was vetoed by the governor and failed to override his veto. Renewable sources of energy are the wave of the future and represent a huge growth area for the economy.
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?
The state should welcome legal immigrants and work to increase small businesses, the backbone of Maine's economy. More young people will stay in Maine or move to Maine if they can make a decent living here.