Maine's economic recovery has lagged the nations and the state is still suffering from increasing child poverty and income disparity. Maine citizens believe in helping those in genuine need. We need to assure that social services are effective and, of course, prevent fraud of all types.
Maine needs a balance of taxes to provide revenue stability. Income tax provides the fairest source of revenue based on ability to pay. But Maine also needs to ensure through sales and property taxes that non-residents also pay their fair share. Recently the legislature significantly reduced income taxes. Yet the state continues to fail to provide 55% of the basic cost of education to local schools with the consequence that local property taxpayers must pick up the difference. I would support both an expanded lodging tax and local option sales tax.
This is a tough issue on both sides and I share concerns about the effects of marijuana on brain development in young adults. But, ultimately, when the state faces dire problems with opiate addiction, it is counterproductive to distract law enforcement efforts against marijuana.
Along with inadequate learning opportunities, disparity in education funding across the state correlates largely with large variations in communities' property tax base. The only way to ensure that students from less wealthy districts meet Maine's Learning results is to increase the state's proportion of basic education funding where property taxes are insufficient. While the question of the right mix of taxes for state revenue will not be settled. Question 2 will move the state's share of school funding in the right direction.
The public has a compelling interest in reasonable safeguards to ensure that guns are kept out of the hands of criminals and domestic abusers.
By all measures the minimum wage has failed to keep pace with the cost of living which has increased strain on public services. This ballot question moves Maine in the right direction. I have some reservations about the effect of tipped wage credit but I expect that discussion will be taken up in the next legislature.
The opioid epidemic requires an urgent comprehensive effort on all fronts. But until we properly support drug treatment, education, and drug courts, simply increasing enforcement will not solve Maine's problem.
By constitutional intent, Maine's legislators are close to their constituents and less beholden to special interests. On balance, compared to the national example, I think Maine is well-served by the structure of its legislature.
Education and development of workforce skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collaborative teamwork. Continue the slow steady effort to improve educational outcomes.
Genuinely welcome and support those with the initiative and determination to come to Maine because of its genuine work ethic and strength of its communities.
Developing a forward-thinking and self-sustaining energy economy, transportation system, and housing which reflects our environmental values, allows young families to thrive in our communities, and keeps money in state.