My plan for economic growth in the 24th State Senate district
- We must invest in the types of jobs and technologies that we will need in the future. Oil and gasoline are not sustainable or unlimited sources of energy. Moreover, we are projected to double our energy use in the next 10 years. Jobs can be created through emerging technologies such as the creation and maintenance of solar, wind, and geothermal technologies. Instituting green practices into our municipal and school building standards will increase the demand for those jobs, and will develop the small business capacity to service these jobs. At the same time, it will decrease the cost of running schools and municipalities and thus reduce taxes.
- We have lost our industrial base and need to rebuild it with new jobs, both white and blue collar, in trades such as electricity, green tech, heating and cooling, and mass transit. With the exception of Lansdale, the district currently has no mass transit access to major urban hubs like Philadelphia and New York. By reinstating rail service to areas like Quakertown, Bethlehem, and Easton, commuters will have the opportunity to go to and from these urban hubs easily and inexpensively. We have two choices- we can continue to invest in more and larger roads, or we can redevelop the existing railways and railway areas and allow people to transport themselves 50 to 100 miles without needing a car. This area was metro accessible up until the 1970's; that passenger service can be reinstated to once again allow access to Philadelphia and New York City.
- Local taxes are the largest tax that most people pay. The burden for more and more services has been shifting to local municipalities. The fewer revenue streams at the state and local level, the more you will pay in state and local taxes. There are a number of ways we can reduce the tax burden and increase revenue opportunities for county and municipal governments. By tapping into untaxed streams of revenue, we can reduce taxes. Such potential revenue streams include closing corporate loop holes which allow corporations to pay reduced corporate taxes for doing things which they are legally obligated to do anyway, such as pay their taxes on time. If a small business must pay 6% sales tax, why shouldn't a large business do the same? Other potential state revenue streams include placing a tax on Marcellus shale. In addition, I believe that a fair and equitable tax should be placed on smokeless tobacco and cigars; we are currently the only state in the union who does not tax these items.
- Lowering school taxes is a necessary and effective way of reducing local taxes. We have to provide a mechanism whereby school districts can run more efficiently. There are plenty of ways to do this; I propose that we can dramatically lower energy costs by shifting schools toward green technology and making every school building energy efficient and 100% green. Another way to reduce school taxes would be to implement an impact tax. When development happens within a community, school districts and local communities should be allowed to charge impact fees to developers to prevent an increased tax burden on the existing tax payers. We can reduce school costs further through increasing the use of electronic filing and submission and reducing red-tape bureaucratic paper work, school waste, and ink costs. Finally, as State Senator I would require an audit of every school district, and districts with too many administrators and not enough teachers will be held accountable.