Address: 44225 Denise Lane, St. Clairsville.
Occupation: Until recently, 18-year Public service employee at Belmont Correctional Institution, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
Past offices held: None.
1. Ohio has had some success in regaining jobs in the wake of the recession, but the unemployment rate remains over 7 percent. What specifically will you do to help create jobs in the state?
First we have to stop the decisions that will negatively affect our economy. Examples like privatizing Ohio's lottery, turnpike and liquor sales. These are tax revenue producing assets that my opponent has taken the position of supporting privatizing. Take the state liquor sales plan for example. They would lease out liquor sales for 25 years at a benefit of $1.4 billion. The trouble is that is only 20 cents on the dollar for our taxpayer-owned asset. Right from the start we have given away 80 percent of the value and profits to a private company. That equals $5.6 billion of your money politicians want to give away. Then take into consideration that the $1.4 billion no doubt will be spent by this administration, leaving all the budgets for the next 25 years without the benefit of state liquor sales tax revenue. The total bill for us the taxpayers will be $7 billion. That money will have to be made up by you the taxpayer over the lease time period, and it will not be preferential to what party you belong to. Basically this idea is the same as the state putting $1.4 billion on a credit card that we the people will have to cover the payments over the next 25 years. And then consider the loss of the generating tax revenue that will leave our state due to this money no longer being within Ohio's economy. Also consider privatizing your state assets is our current politicians spending money from the next six governors' administrations budget and handing us the payment book for the next 25 years. Thanks to decisions made by past leaders we are currently at a surplus in tax revenues and are not even in need of this additional tax spending. Decisions like 80 counties in Ohio benefiting from the resurging American automobile industry, casino tax revenues, and new Ohio energy.
After limiting current negatives as above, we should approach reworking our state budget to strategically invest into projects that not only return tax dollars through sales and payroll taxes, but drive growth in new construction in areas that will self-sustain and drive additional growth through private investment and services. One such area I believe we missed a fantastic opportunity was participating in the National High Speed Rail program. Ohio was going to receive matching funds for stage one of a national high speed rail system. This would have brought immediate money, jobs and investment into our economy in new construction funded by the state and federal governments. The amount Ohio would have recovered in additional payroll, income, and sales taxes alone would have generated not only a large percentage but more than the actual cost to our state, considering we could have controlled the manufacturing of the supplies and materials going into such a large project with the ability to direct them to Ohio manufacturers. Just the miles of rail alone would have supported and stimulated Ohio's steel manufacturing considering we have a rail manufacturer right here in Ohio. Then consider all the labor and materials to build the bridges and stations along the route. Unlike our current gas and oil growth in our area of Ohio, we could have controlled the hiring, employing a large amount of Ohio's skilled laborers cutting into our unemployment and program payouts. The sales tax revenue gained alone would have been substantial considering money circulates in a local economy five to seven times over, each time stimulating the economy and each time generating additional sales tax revenues. With the current 22 percent plus increase in growth in high speed rail use, our state would have easily been able to attract outside investment from private companies to run and service this growth, further stimulating every aspect of Ohio's economy. Plus the benefits we would have received in commerce and growth with the future stages in development and connection stage making it a national rail system. We also have to consider the long term benefits from a tax revenue producing asset that our state would be receiving for the use of this rail system. Taking into consideration the total economic stimulus Ohio would have received we the taxpayers would have not only recovered our entire investment, we would have received tax revenues to relieve the tax burden on Ohio citizens for generations to come. Now, with the entire stimulus we failed to develop, consider the growth we retarded and the lost opportunity cost our state will pay for not participating in this federal high speed rail system. Then consider the lost opportunity cost when this system includes cargo transportation. Wow, no one thought of that. Again, Ohio will be behind in business and manufacturing growth. In the 1950's there were politicians that opposed the building of the Eisenhower interstate system, saying we already had National Road 40 and did not need it. Can you imagine how far behind in commerce Ohio would be today if we did not have leaders in the 1950's that understood investing forward will bring business to our state.
2. Ohio is expecting a sizable budget surplus. There have been cuts to local government funding in recent years, from schools to cities and counties and many would like to see that money go to them. Should any of the surplus be spent and if yes, how?
First I believe with the budget surplus from the increased incoming sales revenues, we should continue our commitment of no tax increases, by replacing the funding that was unnecessarily cut to our schools and local government. This would shore up our local budgets and limit the additional property tax levies on our local citizens and businesses, until the new 130th assembly could pass a common sense budget that fully funds our basic priorities and severely cuts the massive amount of special interest spending and campaign favor handouts that were included in the current budget. We can easily cut out the hundreds of millions of corporate welfare handouts and even the $240,000 our current legislators agreed to pay the governor's wife to clean her own house. We need legislators that understand this money belongs to us the taxpayers and they must retain as much as possible within Ohio to stimulate our economy, at the same time limiting additional taxes on our citizens and businesses. The increased M1 money in our economy will generate additional tax revenues for Ohio's state government while simultaneously stimulating growth in our great state.
3. Ohio's school-funding system has been declared unconstitutional multiple times due to its reliance on property taxes, yet a solution has remained elusive. Do you believe the situation is likely to change in the near future, and how would you propose addressing the issue?
This depends on whether we elect the same type politicians or new leaders. Our current school funding should have been properly addressed when this decision came out of Ohio's Supreme Court two decades ago. Each general assembly has failed to properly address this or has not addressed it at all. The reason it has not been addressed is funding our public schools properly without property taxes will force our politicians to spend our incoming tax revenues on our priorities like education and will drastically cut funding for political handouts. The ruling was made because the current system does not spread the tax burden fairly or equally. And the biggest problem I see is it taxes money you or your family made in the past, not your current income. With middle class income dropping this can be catastrophic to a family budget. Can you imagine the local growth we would see in personal property improvement investments if we did not have to pay additional or any property tax? I have had plans for this for several years and recently in Carroll County discussed this exact topic. I would like to see progress made towards fully funding our schools through our general budget and away from any property tax based system. This will be a challenge for our state, but I believe we should start with a single or limited group of counties and implement a new system there before going state wide. This will give us the opportunity to work out any flaws in a new funding system, making sure this does not turn into a tax increase for our citizens. If developed properly, taking advantage of new opportunities, we may find a way to actually lower costs to our citizens.
I am confident if elected I can play an important role in leading and developing legislation that supports our district's citizens, while emphasizing retention of as much economic benefits to our local economy as possible. I would be honored to be our district's voice in the next Ohio General Assembly.