Gary Hilliard – On the Issues

Welfare Reform

In Maine, we share the belief that we have a basic responsibility to take care of the vulnerable by providing a real safety net of programs for those with high needs. I am committed to that belief, but want to see Maine in line with the national averages of amounts and services provided. Let’s provide for the truly needy and require the healthy to at the very least search for jobs and participate in programs that encourage them to transition from welfare to work, providing them with the satisfaction of moving to a self-sufficient level of life.

Economy/Creating Jobs

As citizens of Maine, we must understand that a strong economy and a healthy workforce are required in order to pay for all government programs. It’s simple – when the economy struggles, less money is available to spend. It is not the government’s role to create jobs, but it can provide a n environment that encourages business creators to build new businesses and grow existing small business. We must become more business friendly by reducing unnecessary regulation, incentivizing job-training programs, and offering tax incentives to boost our local economy and create good paying jobs. If every small business in Maine added just one job, our unemployment rate would be cut in half. I not only believe this needs to be done, but that it can be done in a reasonable period of time. I, as opposed to many candidates, have actually created hundreds of jobs in Maine and other states for the last 35 years, and will continue to fight for jobs in my second term.

The Environment

We all know and value the fact that we live i n one of the most beautiful and clean places in the world. Once again, we have candidates who talk about what they will do for our environment and have no record of accomplishment. I am proud of the fact that companies that I have built and operated have played a major role in solid waste reduction in Maine since 1980. In Maine, we are doing a very good job at protecting our air, land and water quality, but must continue to be vigilant in protecting the “Maine Brand” for our children and grandchildren. I also supported the release of Land for Maine Future funds on every vote, and opposed the expansion of mining in Maine.

Tax Reform

In our current structure, the lowest income earners pay no state income tax, and the highest earners pay the largest percentage of state income tax; and I believe that is the way it should work. On the other side of the issue, however, the overall system of taxation in Maine, including sales, income and property tax is outdated, going back to the industrial economy, and must be updated.

As part of a tax improvement plan, we must find ways to reduce property tax rates on our low-income elderly. We should also remember our goal of being business friendly and allowing our business and job creators to have the tools they need to boost our economy.

In the 127th Legislature I sponsored and supported legislation that will help keep our lake waters clean, and create safer drinking water for those on private wells.