Election 2012

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Erin D. Herbig

Erin D. Herbig

Party affiliation: D
Residence: Belfast
Races:

On the Issues

How do you propose the Legislature closes Maine’s budget gap?

Economic growth is the only way to continue to provide needed services without raising taxes on Mainers. We must increase state revenue in order to close the budget gap. By increasing the tax base through attracting new businesses which create more jobs, Maine can increase our state revenue.

Sustainable economic growth produces sustainable and stable state revenue. This will ultimately create more stability for Maine families. The creation of good jobs with good benefits results in a community where everyone has the opportunity to work hard and provide for their family.

Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal in Maine?

This referendum will be on the ballot on November 6 for the voters to decide. I will be voting yes.

Do you support school choice?

I certainly favor giving families the flexibility to find the school that works best for their children. However, like most of the challenges we are facing, the problem is finding the money in the budget to pay for those programs. We are not meeting the existing requirements for education, so it would be fiscally irresponsible to say we have the money to enact new programs.

Do you think Maine's school consolidation program has been successful?

In RSU 20 there have been painful discussions regarding small community schools closing and other major changes in the district that have been met with a lot of opposition. RSU 20 is currently exploring an exit from the consolidation agreement. Individual communities, school boards and school administrators know better than legislators in Augusta what is best for their children. Our job as legislators is to look at how we spend money on education, not to impose laws regarding how that education is delivered.

Do you think Maine should expand MaineCare as proposed by the president under the Affordable Care Act?

On January 1st, under the Affordable Care Act, the state will be able to expand MaineCare coverage for 44,000 of Maine’s most needy. This includes the elderly, very young, and disabled who currently do not have access to coverage. This expansion will be fully paid for by the federal government during the first three years and then going forward the federal government will pick up 90% of the cost.

It is extremely important that we take up this opportunity because this population of people will no longer be forced to go to emergency rooms but instead getting the preventive care they need to stay health. This will ultimately be a cost savings to all of us.

What is the biggest thing Maine can do to attract more jobs to the state?

We can attract new businesses with a well-trained workforce that possesses skills relevant to our future economy. In Belfast we have already seen this with our heritage industries such as farming, food production, and boat building. These industries are an essential aspect of our economic growth. Enhancing opportunities for all Mainer’s through good education and training specific to these industries needs to be our top priority.

Maine small businesses will have the potential to expand if they are well supported. All businesses need adequate rural road systems, expanded broadband access, and improved markets for locally produced products.

Finally, we must further review regulations placed on our businesses. We need to eliminate the red tape put in the way of business owners. The success of a new business should depend on its merits, not on filling out paperwork.

Do you support lowering the state income tax? What state spending would you cut to make up for the loss of revenue?

I support lowering the state income tax. Maine’s current tax system needs to move in favor of Maine businesses and people that live and work here. We need to increase state revenue through increased economic growth and expanding the tax base.

Are Maine's public assistance benefits too generous? How should they be changed?

The people of Maine have always taken care of their neighbors that are truly in need or are going through a difficult period. What we have to do, however, is stop paying for those people that are capable of working but are receiving welfare because they know how to work the system. Cut the fraud, not the services.

What should the state do to lower energy costs?

As technology develops, we will see renewable resources become much more cost effective for Maine people. When costs come down, the transition will occur naturally. Diversity in in Maine’s energy portfolio will be essential in ensuring that we are best able to respond to the volatility of energy markets.

Our most cost effective manner in which to lower energy costs is through energy efficiency in our homes and businesses. Energy efficiency can significantly cut into the demand for electricity and heating. Payback periods for investment in weatherization can be less than five years and continues to pay for many years after. This also saves money by avoiding costly infrastructure to produce and deliver new energy technology.

Should Maine place more restrictions on abortion?

No. Health care decisions are best left to patients and their doctor, not the government.

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