Address: Little Hocking.
Occupation: Part-time sale man for the 103.9 WNRJ radio station in Vienna, W.Va.
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?
We have many areas of concern in our state, first is jobs, then education, roads and health care. Several of the issues ahead for the next assembly will be the drilling of natural gas. I would not be in favor of the severance tax or another tax. If we allow drilling in Ohio and make sure the gas companies are doing right by the environment, then we will see a massive increase in jobs and the revenues that are created with those jobs. The economic benefit we will get from all the jobs and the revenue to the land owners will be a boost to the state and to the budget. I do not believe we have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem! I also have several issues that I want to sponsor to help our district. Next, I want to promote a bill that would give anyone who upgrades or adds to their homes a step program before they pay any increase in property taxes. My plan would be to start the first year with no increase in taxes on the addition. Then, add 25 percent tax a year until up to 100 percent. This would give incentive for people to add rooms, garages, or pave their driveways. This would increase jobs for contractors, electricians, pavement companies and more. There would also be an increase in sales of businesses who sell the products. By doing this it would increase employment, increase income tax, sales tax and eventually property taxes. But it would also give the homeowners a chance to pay for the upgrades and have a break before they have to pay for the increase in property taxes. I would also find areas of financial waste in state projects and divert that money to small townships to help them with the financial needs they are presently facing. Two examples are the new park and ride at 50/7 and 555, it is 1 miles from the park and ride at 50/7 and 339. I drive by the first park and ride everyday and I have never seen a time when the lot was full. We didn't need the new park and ride and it was a waste of money. Next, the lengthening of the turn lanes in Belpre. We needed turn lights, but not the increase in length to the lanes. This too was a waste of money, as I have never seen a time with more than two to three cars using the turn lanes. Most of the townships in my district have been squeezed to the breaking point and can't afford the basic needs to maintain the roads, culverts and cemeteries in their townships. The money from projects that are wasteful could be used more effectively where it is needed. Next, I believe we need to stop putting so much money to the larger city's schools and be more equal in the distribution of monies toward our rural area schools. It's not honorable that Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron have over $15 thousand dollars per student and our area schools receive half that, or less. Much of the money for the larger city schools comes from the state, therefore, the rural districts and representatives need to fight for a more equitable distribution of funds. It is going to take several areas to fix the school funding issue, we just need to work together and find three or more sources of revenue to be added to the property taxes until we have a proven way to fund our schools, fair and even. We can also look to other states that have merged the school boards into county school boards and the superintendents working for more than one school. It is not going to be easy, but it can be done.
I also think the state needs to develop a way to work with insurance companies and the implementation of a tax credit to promote gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores and banks to have enough generator power to run their basic functions. For example; gas stations could run their pumps, freezers, lights and cash registers; Banks, their ATM machines, and grocery stores could run their freezers, lights and cash registers. If we don't have power, we don't have gas, groceries, money or any way to buy the basic necessities we need to live. If you don't have gas you can't use your generators to keep your refrigerators, freezers or life support systems working. We need to promote insurance companies to give a break on premiums, if a business has the generator power to keep open and working. If the company does not, it ends up throwing away a lot of food and has to file a claim for damaged food and lost business. I have lived though four major power outages in the last 17 years, and it happens enough that we need to fix the problem. In Detroit in 2003 everyone was out of power and there was no driving down the road to a gas station that was open everything was closed down. It then becomes an issue of National Defense. This is too important to not have a plan of action!
Last I believe we have a great opportunity in the gas stored in the shale in our district. As I stated earlier, the gas companies have to do right by the environment, but it is too much of an economic importance to not drill.
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?
We have several issues that need addressed in the next assembly in regards to the budget and the rainy day fund we have now. We have to address school funding at the K-12 and higher education levels. We need to find a better mix of revenue to help out our rural schools and to earmark that money to schools, so in the future it can not be changed to pay for other needs. I also think Ohio needs to help townships, counties and cities with roads, bridges and infrastructure. I believe that is a fundamental principle in conservative beliefs. You fund infrastructure, roads, bridges, schools, which make up the backbone to our economy and our future. We will need to find more efficient ways to save money in other areas of government to free up the money to work on these issues. The rainy day fund as it is commonly known will have several areas trying to use the money. First you have the new health care cost the federal government is pushing over to the states with the health care bill. I have heard we will have to come up with $300 million next year and up to $600 million the year after to pay our share as a state. We need to get a handle on how much this cost will increase as it will be taking money from other projects like schools, roads, bridges and jobs. We have to continue to make our state business friendly to attract real and permanent jobs and opportunities in our district. The more jobs, the more revenue for all levels of government, while at the same time lowering the cost of unemployment, food, housing, utility and many other support programs. We usually always see a decrease in crime when the economy is strong and people have good and full-time jobs. The better people are financially, and in their job, the less chance they will be committing crimes and depression that leads to drinking and drugs. I believe that new jobs and industry will strengthen our revenue at the state level and lower costs. This will give us the extra available funds to help pay for schools, roads/bridges without spending more money than we have. We are going to have to find a solution that everyone can agree on and more forward, making sure it is watched and working well. I believe we need to keep a sizable rainy day fund for emergencies or new mandates from the federal government, but we can use parts of the fund for medical, schools and local government.
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?
I am hoping the school funding issue is dealt with in the next General Assembly. We have to address school funding at the K-12 and higher education levels. We need to find a better mix of revenue to help out our rural schools and to earmark that money to schools, so in the future it can not be changed to pay for other needs. I am hoping that we can find a solution to this issues that has been going on for years and many administrations of both parties. It will only become harder to fund schools and to come to an agreement, the longer we take. We will have to work across the aisle to come up with a bi-partisan bill that we can come to an agreement on and to use as a starting point. As with most plans we have, we will need to modify it and make changes when and were needed. It will not be an easy fix, but we have to get together at the state level and get this fixed, for the betterment of the state, our schools and future budgets. I believe with making our state more efficient and work to save waste, we can find the money we need and just make sure it spend on the right issues without the need for additional taxes that would only lower employment in the private sector. We just need to have the parents, school teachers and local school boards involved in the spending of the money and how they want their children educated.