On the Issues
How do you propose the Legislature closes Maine’s budget gap?
Income tax cuts that benefit those with very large incomes require cuts to services which will need to be picked up by towns. Thus the burden is shifted to the property tax. Property taxes are the most regressive taxes, the tax burden is greater on those with lower incomes. This also creates inequities between towns with differing property values, rich towns can afford to provide better services than poor towns.
In addition to rolling back these cuts, I would look at sales taxes again, but be sure we don’t exempt golf courses and ski areas while taxing hair cuts.
Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal in Maine?
The ‘sanctity’ of ‘traditional’ marriage has long ago been affected by the behavior of heterosexuals. Marriage as a compact between two loving individuals should be granted the legal protections regardless of the sexes of those couples. Legalizing same-sex marriage in no way requires those who feel this is not an appropriate life choice to alter their views. It is sad to me that a nation founded on the ideals of religious freedom has come to desire so much legal control over actions that are not in agreement with particular religious views.
Do you support school choice?
I believe communities are responsible for providing the best schooling possible for their children. Of course, schools can’t always provide everything a parent or child might feel is valuable but a solid basic education should be available to every child.
I feel that school choice is harmful to local schools. It turns education into a ‘menu’ situation which says, even if this community can’t afford some extras, you can choose to have them by sending your child(at community expense) to another school. So I can have lobster even though I only pay meat loaf fees!
School choice is a slippery slope that leads very quickly to using your property tax dollars to fund private, for-profit schools and weakens the public school system. If you wish your child to have a choice of another school, you are certainly free to pay for that choice. I, as your neighbor, should not be required to support it.
Do you think Maine's school consolidation program has been successful?
As with so many plans, the idea of consolidating schools seemed to assure savings.Unfortunately the reality hasn’t been so rosy. Larger school populations have created needs for new larger schools to be built(this is hardly saving money!) and increased busing has increased costs. In many rural areas, parents are opposed(with good reason) to long hours spent on buses for the youngest students and this is causing great tension in consolidated districts as towns fight having ‘their’ school closed. Decision making for schools becomes less a community process and more a corporate one. Schools are not businesses.
Do you think Maine should expand MaineCare as proposed by the president under the Affordable Care Act?
What is the biggest thing Maine can do to attract more jobs to the state?
Maine needs more small business, more production of goods. We don’t need more low wage jobs selling ‘cheap’ goods made in China. We are successful at tourism but these jobs are not highly paid, service jobs often are minimum wage.
If Maine people buy, and demand, products made in Maine, there will be a climate that favors small manufacturing , such a Lucid Skis and New Balance shoes. Adding some tax incentives to the mix can help but this needs to be carefully regulated, too many ‘start-ups’ in other places have been well subsidized by tax dollars and then move away.
Do you support lowering the state income tax? What state spending would you cut to make up for the loss of revenue?
Income taxes are the least regressive taxes. They are truly based upon the ability to pay. I suspect there may be places to cut state spending without throwing the burden onto the towns, not funding private highway feasibility studies comes to mind as a good one.
Are Maine's public assistance benefits too generous? How should they be changed?
I believe we need to reconsider the entire system of ‘public assistance’. There needs to be an increase in work requirement, but to be serious about that, we must fund more day care for single mothers. Education needs to be part of the system, training and retraining for jobs. TANF needs to have more withdrawal steps, at present it is not heavily geared to getting people permanently off assistance.
Many disabled people can also be given some work that is appropriate(again, training and retraining) which provides dignity as well as income.
We need to stop fraud, but we also need to be aware that fraud is not as frequent as some believe. And we really should stop judging people by their grocery baskets.
What should the state do to lower energy costs?
Increase Efficiency Maine funding, encourage development of alternative and renewable energy sources, support research at our University system that discovers new and better energy sources, energy utilization.
Should Maine place more restrictions on abortion?
Abortion should be a private matter not a state matter.