- Maine’s current
budget was balanced using over $725 million in onetime money. After only 8
months into the budget there is a $438 million shortfall. Maine’s
legislature is trying to bring the budget back into balance without raising
taxes. Even after balancing, next year, the onetime $725 million will
cause a shortfall and again Maine will face major financial crisis. How do
you propose to bring the state’s budget into balance without raising taxes
or shifting taxes to the local property tax payers?
The only way to
balance the budget is to reduce spending. Maine’s high tax burden is caused
by the legislature enormous spending appetite. Maine needs to shrink
government and prioritize services and implement an efficient and effective
delivery system. First, I would evaluate all appointed mid- managers and if
found ineffective they would be returned to the labor market. Second, I would
evaluate agency programs effectiveness and eliminate those who provide no
return on investment. Third, I would seek the most experienced and best minds
in the respective fields to manage the departments and agencies. Fourth, I
would seek to reform education and DHHS. Eighty percent of state expenditures
are in these two departments. My administration will focus on increasing the
ratio of students to teachers to the national average. Work toward
reforming seniority base with performance evaluation system. Introduce
vouchers and charter schools along with encouraging home schooling. In DHHS, I
look to reform general assistance to introduce a tiered level on earnings to
encourage recipients to work and earn more. Further, every recipient will be
forced to volunteer at libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, get
work training to get off welfare as we know it.
- Maine has little
economic growth. Population in Northern Maine has dwindled; young people are
leaving in droves in order to find a life beyond welfare. Some blame
Maine’s high taxes for discouraging business expansion. How would
you change Maine’s tax structure to benefit economic growth?
Reducing the overall
tax burden for all Maine citizens is my vision for tax reform. We need
to eliminate the capital gains, eliminate the personal property tax over the
next four years, and lower the income tax to 5 or 6%, while re-installing the
deduction system to mirror the federal government. Taxes can be reduced by
seeking organizational efficiencies, applying sound business principals and
advocating for the best interest of the taxpayers. We accomplished this in the
city of Waterville and vital services were not affected. Eliminate taxes on
pension and reduce the investment income our seniors will keep capital in
Maine. Increase the base for taxing income and reduce the income tax
rate. Further, I favor repealing LD1495 it does little to help the overall tax
burden in Maine. A strange thing happened in our city, as taxes went down the
taxable base grew.
- Do you believe that
regulatory compliance costs are a problem for the privates sector and, if
so, what specific steps should be taken to deal with this issue?
are a significant burden on the private sector. As a state, we have
delved into a means of regulatory control rather than providing regulatory
oversight. Our system is too rigid, controlling and lacks the can do attitude
that creates a partnership mood rather than an oppressive environment. LURC
and DEP need to be constrained and become a positive influence. The
timeframe for getting permits needs to be reduced and streamlined. The
order of the day must be best science and technology to evaluate projects, not
delays and the court room. For every regulation passed, I will request two
antiquated regulation be repealed attached to new legislation before it would
be signed. We need to insure that regulators understand the industries they
are charged with regulating. There is no room for political appointments in
the regulatory environment unless they are proficient in the field. It is time
to remove the shackle of economic slavery prohibiting economic development.
It is time to push back against, delays, unreasonable regulations that
conflict with science and technology. The private sector realizes they need to
be good stewards of Maine’s natural resources, but often time prevented
because of unruly, unnecessary and costly regulations.
- Do you believe that
the cost and structure of Maine’s current welfare and entitlement programs
is a problem and, if so, what specific steps should be taken to deal with
Our entire welfare
system is designed to breed dependency on state government. When a recipient
becomes proficient at milking the welfare system, breaking free from it is
nearly impossible. My proposal includes establishing a waiting period, as well
as, a five year lifetime benefits. Further, it would require recipients
to volunteer to work at various qualified organization or go to school for
work training. I propose implementing a five tier income system beginning at
the poverty level ending at an established living wage. In reaching each
tier, benefits would decrease by 20%, providing an incentive to continue
working and improve oneself. Once the recipient reaches the living wage, they
would be off general assistance.
- Many people believe
that public education in Maine is broken. What do you believe are the causes
of this perception and what do you plan to do about it? Consider the role of
the federal and state mandates, the role of the Maine Education Association
and the equity of the current state funding mechanism.
Like many programs in
Maine, education of our children K-12 is costly and performance results trail
the national averages. Maine is in the top third in cost and the bottom third
in results nationally. The “No Child Left Behind” program designed for
improving inner-city schools has not worked in Maine. Teachers spend too
much time doing paperwork at the expense of classroom teaching. In the last
decade school assessments systems have changed three times. We find
ourselves data rich and analysis poor. The data cannot be accurately
measured because methodology changes too often. We teach to boost test results
and not learning results. We have a system which teaches to mediocrity. Our
schools need to eliminate teaching to national assessments and allow teachers
to create a learning environment that challenges all students to excel to
their own diverse strengths rather than a standard of mediocrity.
We have a 500%
variance between school districts in how we qualify students needing special
education. The standards are in place, but our Department of Education
lack in enforcing standard equitable. Schools spend too much chasing
down federal fund. I support statewide choice and the introduction of
Charter School, along with encouraging home schooling for those household who
have the skill set, the financial capacity and patience to undertake such a
schools need to maintain a student to teacher ratio closer to the national
average. With declining enrollment student to teacher ratio has gotten out of
hand. Also, more teaching can be done through the use of virtual education
without having an adverse impact on the quality of curriculum being offered.
Consolidation needs to be reformed; one size does not fit all. What
works in southern Maine, has proven not to work in rural Maine.
- Will your
administration actively support the exploration for all forms of energy
available in this state, including oil and gas, and work to implement
policies that would encourage the utilization of this energy for the
betterment of the state of Maine?
especially oil and gas. I would support all forms of energy that are
commercially viable and cost effective. Hydro, nuclear, LNG, biomass any
form of energy that will lower the overall energy cost to Mainers.
- Do you agree that
the Natural Resources of Maine remain largely untapped and, if so, would you
be in favor of loosening environmental laws to encourage that exploration
and utilization of these resources?
answer to number three. I support good science and the use of state of
the art technology. Environmental laws need to reflect a bit of common
sense, while maintaining good stewardship of Maine natural resources. I
believe this can be done, and needs to be done. Regulations need to be based
on good science and not solely on environmental special interest groups. On
the other hand, good business is being a good steward of our renewable
- What is your stance
on such social issues as abortion and Gay marriage: in addition, do you see
a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage, in conjunction
with, civil unions to provide legal status to Gay couples as a viable
solution to the traditional/Gay marriage debate?
My belief is
traditional marriage needs to be protected and the definition of marriage
should not be changed. I would support a constitutional amendment to
protect marriage as currently defined by Maine law. I support Civil Law
Contracts that protect the civil rights of all citizens. I would oppose any
law giving any class of citizen’s special rights.
- Maine’s health
insurance premiums are among the highest in the nation. Dirigo Health is a
complete failure. What will you do to bring premiums down and at the
same time provide insurance for all citizens?
The State Attorney
General should join other states in litigating “ObamaCare.” Next as a
state we need to allow the purchase of health insurance across state line.
Community rating should be abolished and replaced with a system incorporating
age, health, wellness activities, etc. We need to eliminate community
rating and replace with an actuary rating system with a ratio of at least 5 to
1 between the healthiest and those with severe illness. The state further
needs to adopt a high risk pool for those who have life threatening and
extremely costly illnesses. The state needs to adopt health insurance mandates
reflective of state averages and allow for the purchase of “A La Carte”
special coverage. Reform of tort laws is necessary to limits judgment awards
on medical malpractice suits. I would explore subsidies and tax credits for
small business and those needing assistance to obtain affordable health