Generally speaking, we are not too generous. There are a few areas where we need to address needs. Senior housing is one and the release of medicaid funds is another. Prenatal care funding is important, as well as assisting with proper nutrition for both the young and old. A systemic approach to mental health issues should be developed, funded and initiated.
I do not support raising the sales tax at this point, as a sales tax is a flat tax.
It is, as I will continue to say, not important how I feel about the question as a citizen, but what I would do as a legislator. This bill needs more work, but it is a start. We need to make sure that users of medical marijuana will be protected. They need to know the potency and the strain so they can trust what they are using. That can be accomplished by allowing the current system to continue with some tweaking. If they know their producer, this allows trust. I also believe that no drug used for primarily medical reasons should be taxed. If we don't address this issue now, our surrounding states will be legalizing the sale of marijuana and it will affect us, regardless.
Years ago we mandated that the state fund education at 55%. We have yest to do that. Nevertheless, we give tax breaks to those well above the medium income. We need to pay the education mandate before giving tax breaks. Again, it doesn't matter whether I support the referendum or not. It matters what we do as a legislature after the question passes. We must make sure the revenue that is raised is directed towards funding education at the 55% mandated rate. As shown in other states, a tax like this does not drive wealthy people out of the state, as some fear. Whether you earn $200,000 or less, you benefit from a well funded educational system.
Once again it doesn't matter how I vote, it matters what happens afterwards, if it passes. This question is flawed and the legislature needs to correct the problems with it. They need to ensure that people are able to lend a firearm for the entire hunting season, that inordinate fines are not levied, that no confiscation of firearms not involved in a crime be attempted, and that the costs of background checks be priced reasonably. Will this question stop violence? We hope it will have a positive effect, but more importantly is that we begin a conversation about violence in our society. This centers around the need for society to look at the root causes of violence. It is important that we fund studies that will help us understand these root causes.
It has been shown in the states that have adopted an increase in the minimum wage that businesses and jobs were not lost in the long run.
Presently, our governmental system is often brought to a standstill after an election that has more than 2 candidates . What may happen is a candidate is elected without a mandate from the electorate because the vote is split. These newly elected officials are responsible to only a minority of voters. A rank choice voting system would allow candidates to be elected that would represent more than 50% of the voters. Granted, the candidates may not be the voters' first choice, but they would be the voters' choice, nonetheless. An elected official under the rank choice system would be responsible to the majority of voters.
I think that we need to expand treatment as that has a better return in the long run.
I would continue electing the constitutional officers by the legislature for the present time.
Since I am running for state office for the first time, I would like to be in office for one term before I judge the size and pay for the legislature. When there are more legislative districts, individual voters have more access to their legislator. At this point I don't know if the pay is commensurate with the amount of work. After one term I will be able to answer that question.
Yes. As elected officials we need to be held to a high standard of behavior.
At this point in time, I don't see the necessity of more casinos.
Our biggest barrier to economic development is a lack of a truly integrated plan for the future. We need a comprehensive plan for infrastructure development. That plan must deal with transportation, high speed internet, educational, medical and environmental infrastructure to develop a sustainable future.
The first question we need to ask is are we educating our children for the future? If we are and we are developing the necessary infrastructure for jobs, then perhaps we won't have the migration of our children out of state to chase jobs . However, even if we can keep our children in our state, it will not solve the problem of our declining population. We may have to turn to immigrants. It has happened in the past in our state. Of course we must make sure that security issues have been addressed before we allow anyone to immigrate to our state. Once that issue has been dealt with on a federal level, we need to integrate these immigrants. It has been shown that immigrants are more entrepreneurial than the population in general. Being entrepreneurs means that they will also add jobs. If we are bringing people into our state, then we should have an agency that will deal directly with the needs to educate and settle these immigrants. When my German ancestors emigrated to the colonies in the 1700s, they were escaping war in Europe and only William Penn would allow them into America. Ben Franklin thought that these German farmers were so efficient that they would displace the English. That didn't happen. When my Scottish ancestors came to the U.S. in the early 1800s to escape the Commons Law, allowing wealthy land owners to displace them, people thought they wouldn't assimilate. They did. Immigrants become strong citizens and add to our economy.
You have not mentioned the need to develop an energy policy that will make us more self sufficient so that in the long run we lower our energy costs and protect our environment.