William L. Neilson

William L. Neilson

William L. Neilson

Democratic candidate for Maine House District 53 from Arrowsic

Running against Jeffrey K. Pierce. View your ballot →

Is Maine too generous in providing social services to its residents? Which government benefits should be increased or decreased?

No. Medicaid should be expanded as intended under the ACA. This will help people who are working stay healthier and at work, while relieving fiscal pressure on the healthcare sector of our economy from unreimbursed care and thereby also on the cost of health care for everyone else who must pay higher health insurance premiums. A recent federal DHHS study indicated that in states which have expanded Medicaid as the ACA was designed to do, health insurance costs an average of 7% less than in states which have not expanded Medicaid coverage.

Do you support expanding or raising the sales tax to lower the state income tax? Why or why not?

No. The personal income tax is the fairest way we have of raising revenue, and there is no evidence that personal income taxes have a determinative effect on decisions where people or companies locate. Other factors such as family ties, weather, workforce availability and quality education are among those that are more important.

Do you support marijuana legalization in Maine, as outlined in Question 1?


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

We are better off bringing this widespread behavior out of the shadows and into the open where it can be regulated, taxed and studied.

Do you support raising taxes on Mainers with incomes above $200,000 to increase state aid to education, as outlined in Question 2?


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

Though I generally disfavor legislating by ballot initiative, in this case the Legislature has abdicated its responsibility to adequately fund the schools so egregiously for so long that the ballot initiative is fully justified.

Do you support universal background checks for firearm sales, as outlined in Question 3?


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

I support people's right to possess and use firearms, but I do not support a regulatory loophole that allows persons known to be criminals or mentally ill or otherwise disqualified from purchasing guns to do so without even an attempt to discover their status under the law.

Should Maine raise its minimum wage, as outlined in Question 4?


Please explain your answer. (Not required.)

This measure will put more money into the pockets of people who need it and will spend it, which in turn will help spur economic growth.

Do you support the initiative to use ranked-choice voting to elect state and federal officials in Maine, as outlined in Question 5?


Please explain your answer. (Not required)

This measure should help avoid costly runoffs and increase the civility of the political process.

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?

Candidate did not answer this question.

Should Maines constitutional officers -- the secretary of state, the attorney general, auditor and the treasurer -- continue to be elected by the Legislature or by statewide popular vote?

The system seems to function adequately as it is.

Is the size of Maines Legislature appropriate? Should the pay for legislative service be increased?

The House of Representatives is probably too large. Pay rates for legislators seem minimal at best and probably should be raised when conditions permit.

Would you support sanctioning another elected official if he or she made public comments or statements that were considered racist, offensive or prejudicial?

Probably not, and depending on their nature, such sanctions could run afoul of the US Constitution, which protects free speech. A body like the legislature can set its own standards for decorum, and sanction its members for ignoring them, but is is something else to do so for members of the public or of different branches of government.

Would you support a so-called right to work law in Maine?


Would you support legislation or a ballot question to allow more casinos in Maine?


What is the biggest barrier to economic development in Maine and what can the Legislature do to address it?

In the big picture, our biggest challenge is demographic: our population too small to start with and is aging out of the work force without sufficient younger persons to replace them. Significantly improved education from pre-k through graduate study will be the eventual fix that brings new families to Maine and builds a better quality of life and increased economic activity, but that is some time out. One important boost to the economy that can take place in the immediate future is the expansion of Medicaid as intended by the Affordable Care Act, which will bring some $350 million into the health care sector of the economy. This will relieve the strain on hospital budgets and help make our workforce healthier at the same time.

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?

See above for some of the answer. Immigration will definitely play a role in meeting our demographic and economic challenge, just as it always has in our country's history.

What is the most pressing issue in Maine these questions have not addressed?

Climate change is rapidly becoming an urgent matter. Many people in District 53 are starting to have significant problems with their wells as a result of the drought. Hopefully that ends soon, but we dont know. We do know more problems are in the pipeline in terms of storms and flooding. We need to build an economy that grows vigorously without degrading the environment that is a key element of Maines brand in the world market. Things like the solar bill that was vetoed are part of that. Short-sighted claims that it is too expensive or unfair are ignoring the fact that we are already paying a much higher price than what is charged at the pump or on the electric bill, and the real price is rising quickly.