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State Senator 30th District: Thompson

November 3, 2012
The Marietta Times

Shane Thompson

Age: 42.

Address: St. Clairsville.

Party: Republican.

Occupation: Vice president for Kinsbursky Brothers, a metals recycling company.

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 can you do to help create jobs in the State?

The state has started to turn things around, and jobs are a key indicator of a rebounding economy; however, that has not yet fully translated to our part of the state in that the unemployment rate in the 30th district is still higher than in the rest of the state. So what will I do? First, acknowledge the fact that government doesn't create jobs, business does, but government can certainly stifle job growth and creation by over regulating or over taxing businesses. If elected, I will use my real world experience in business to highlight this point in Columbus and work to identify and to eliminate those job killing regulations. Concurrently, I will fight for a tax policy that is minimal and focused on keeping the money where it belongs which is in the communities where it was created and with those hard working families who earned it!

Broadly speaking, Ohio needs to get more competitive when it comes to not only attracting new businesses to the state but also making sure the businesses that are already here have an incentive to grow and create more jobs. One way to demonstrate this "competitiveness" is by the aforementioned elimination of redundant, overly complex and/or burdensome regulations, and by adhering to a fair tax policy. Another key part of this move towards getting better results in job creation would be an acknowledgment that our part of the state is rich in energy natural resources and that they are an asset, not a liability and they should be the fuel source we need to power our economy in the 21st century. I will work to ensure that we have responsible regulation but regulation that is both efficient and effective while enabling economic opportunity. Based on my past professional experiences, I know we can do both and we can do better.

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?

This is a tough question for me because I believe that local government is where we can get better results and a better return on our investment (via taxes) rather than sending our money to Columbus. However, at this time there are some pretty compelling reasons to not do that. These include; first, the monies in the projected surplus are "one-time" dollars and, perhaps, this is part of the reason why we had to make the cuts in the first place which are required by statute as Ohio must have a balanced budget. It is not responsible to fund ongoing operations with one time dollars, this is exactly the example of politicians 'kicking the can down the road' instead of showing real leadership and making tough choices or better yet, doing some real planning with regards to the budget and spending so you don't have this type of issue in the first place! Secondly, while things seem to be improving we don't know what the economy is going to look like in 2013 and we don't know what mandates could be coming from the federal government and how this could affect the budget. At a minimum this one-time money held in the rainy day fund will convert by statute into tax reductions for all Ohioans. Going forward, I believe in local government and I will fight to keep money from going to Columbus that could otherwise be kept with local governments where in my opinion it is better used and the value is retained at a higher percentage so that the benefit can have a greater impact in the community. My brother is a township trustee, I know how hard trustees and other local government officials work. I will work equally hard to ensure that we do not get into a position where we have to make these types of cuts in the future and will always be there to help local officials to plan for a productive future.

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?

While acknowledging that our current school funding system is broken, and the most devastating result of that is a funding inadequacy between urban areas and rural ones like the 30th. We have to ask ourselves as parents: what do we want from our schools? I tell people that my 4-year-old son knows more about my iPhone than I do and this is only a mild exaggeration. His comfort with technology makes me wonder if we are keeping up, are we providing all the tools and skills he and other young students are going to need in this technology driven and globally competitive world? I think that this is relevant because when you look at the statistics, there is no correlation between funding and the school's success. I think that the focus has to be on the student and getting better results. I also ask this question because I believe that if you can answer this in a meaningful way that you will find the pool of stakeholders will have deepened. Part of the problem with the current system is the "going back to the well" phenomenon you see with levies and yet, no breakthrough on the results. This discourages both the parents and those in the community who don't have children in the school system. If you are focused on getting the students the best results, then the question of how much funding is needed and how best to procure this funding becomes more defined. I would like to state from my perspective this doesn't preclude increasing funding! The results need to be accounted for and I am not implying simply a test score. I agree that this is a one-dimensional metric and too often it is not as relevant as we would like it to be. I think that teachers can help us determine this answer across the spectrum, both for education that is college prep, as well as for vocational education.

As I mentioned above, one of the issues that I am passionate about is correcting the inequality in per pupil funding. I will go to Columbus and I will fight to make sure that all children, rural and urban, get an equal opportunity to quality education.



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