|Top Ten Issues and More...|
The Auditor Generals office needs to be given oversight of the State Legislatures financial accounts. Currently so called audits of the General Assembly are directed by a body of legislators and others appointed by the leadership of the House and Senate. The audits are unclear and non specific as to how funds were expended, tens of millions of dollars are reported as disbursed with no description as to where the money went. Our Senate and House Leaders must be held accountable for how they spend our money. As your Auditor General I would ask that the Governor call for an audit and that the Attorney General issue an opinion that there is no violation of the State Constitution to have the Auditor General audit the Legislatures financial accounts. If that doesnt happen I would petition the court to make a ruling on Article VIII Section 10. If these measures fail we would need to have a constitutional amendment.
I will work with the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition, to give us fair and equal elections in our state. Did you realize that you almost didn't have a full slate of Libertarian state candidates on the ballot this fall? In a cowardly act, The Republican Party contested the 49,000 signatures that we collected from across the state and threatened our party and our candidates with financial ruin if we didnt withdraw from the race. We fought them for 9 weeks and Won! The Republicans and Democrats needed 2000 signatures to be on the ballot, 3rd party and independent candidates needed 21,601. Fair ballot access will give you more choices, and the major parties more competition.
|Property and School Taxes: |
Pennsylvania property owners are being crushed under the present system.
I will work with organizations like CAPTAXES to stabilize school funding and eliminate school property taxes. By empowering parents and expanding educational choices we can improve student performance across the state. HB 1776 is a step in the right direction it shifts the burden from property owners to an expanded sales tax.
Our current system in Pennsylvania does not work. People are having their homes sold out from underneath them because they cant afford to pay their taxes. I will also work to have gambling revenues go to where they were promised, a real reduction in property tax.
|Finding the Problems:|
I will open my door to whistle blowers, letting them tell me where they see signs of waste, mismanagement and fraud, and immediately call for independent audits of these departments.
|Size of Government:|
I will work to once again make our legislature Part-Time and limit staff and offices. The Pennsylvania General Assembly is the largest full-time state legislature in the nation. As the largest, it's also the most expensive to maintain. We have 203 House members and 50 Senators, each with their own staff, all 2900 of them! It costs the taxpayer $310 million a year just to run our Legislature. By implementing these ideas we can save over $250 million in taxpayer dollars.
John Mahar has been collecting Per Diems as a Representative since 1997 without fully disclosing how and why the expenses were incurred. This disturbs me. For someone who wants to be the top protector of PAs treasury and a CPA, you would think he would have chosen the path of full disclosure. As your Auditor General I would work to change how our Legislature is reimbursed for their expenses, setting limits and requiring receipts.
I will be an advocate of term limits. One of the greatest problems facing government is the politicians that make public service their career. Instead of serving the people and returning to the real world to live with the laws they have created, they become entrenched. They become detached from reality of what it takes to struggle daily for a living. The stench of a privileged class fouls the Harrisburg air as evidenced by pay raises, perks, and pensions the rest of Pennsylvanians can only dream of. Re-election becomes a priority and the people are forgotten.
I have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge from the organization Americans for Tax Reform. This is my pledge to you, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania that I will oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes. I will protest budgets that make no sense and harm the citizens.
Just like with your household budget, the General Assembly cannot spend more money than it takes in. Any future budget needs to be balanced, by cutting government spending until revenue equals expenses.
The extraction of natural gas from Marcellus Shale has the potential to be a great resource for Pennsylvania. But there is also the potential for great harm if things are not done properly by the business involved in the drilling, recovery and waste storage. Before any more wells can be started, the General Assembly needs to put an immediate moratorium on drilling and draft any legislation necessary to guarantee the residents of Pennsylvania that our natural resources will be preserved. Our Legislature took an oath to uphold the State Constitution. Pennsylvania Constitution, Article I, Section 27 - The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment.
As your Auditor General I will conduct a performance audit of the Department of Environmental Protection to make sure that Pennsylvanians are protected.
I will be a strong advocate for veterans. One of the constitutional duties
of government is to provide for the defense of its people. When the defenders return home, the government's responsibility should not end there. This is perhaps the only area of government that I feel spending should be maintained if not increased.
|2nd Amendment Gun Rights:|
I will not compromise on any issue that restricts the rights of law abiding citizens to bear arms. Many politicians have talked about protecting the 'rights of the sportsmen'. Under the 2nd Amendment, Pennsylvania citizens have an absolute right to own firearms. But like every right, those firearms need to be used responsibly.
|Real ID / National ID:|
A National ID card or any card with biometric identifiers is fast approaching a "Big Brother" status and will have the ability to monitor any move you make by the use of that ID. I say NO to Real ID and if elected, I will help in the fight to reject Real ID in Pennsylvania.
There are, as of today, 14 states that have legalized medical marijuana for relief from pain, nausea, diarrhea, recovery from chemotherapy, and other medical symptoms which can sometimes severely reduce the quality of life of the patient. I listened recently to a local radio talk show with a large number of people who called in talking about how consuming marijuana has assisted them in leading normal lives while dealing with cancer, multiple sclerosis, nausea and loss of appetite, among others. This is a viable option that if approved, would be regulated with guidelines on when it could be prescribed by a licensed physician and how it could be dispensed. How can we not help out our friends and family members with serious illnesses find comfort and relief?
If Interstate 80 is to become a toll road, the tolls collected should be only used to maintain Interstate 80, not mass transit in Philadelphia or Pittsburg. I have no problem with user fees. As a sales rep, I depend on good roads to get to my accounts. I would gladly pay a toll on Route 80 if it were maintained and plowed.
All of my campaign contributions have and will come from private individuals, family, friends, and voters who are tired of the system and are desperate for positive change. I will not be bought by any special interests, PACs, business
or professional groups, lobbyist, etc. My vote is my own, and will be cast in the service of the people of Pennsylvania.
The Auditor General has to order a complete forensic audit of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). In September of 2007 PHEAA gave their top 23 executives $1.1 million in bonuses. PHEAA has paid out more than $7.5 million in bonuses since July 1, 2004. We need to hold the top executives and board members, (16 of whom are State Senators and Representatives) accountable for the waste and squandering of taxpayer dollars that should have been used for student grants.
All programs within the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) need to be audited. It also needs to be determined if the Opportunity Grant Program (OGP) is constitutional. Article VIII Section 8 states The credit of the Commonwealth shall not be pledged or loaned to any individual, company, corporation or association nor shall the Commonwealth become a joint owner or stockholder in any company, corporation or association. The DCED has not done enough to monitor the state grants given out to businesses for the purpose of economic development. Of the $26.2 million in repayments and penalties levied only 13% has been collected. The DCED Opportunity Grant Program (OGP) monies are given to businesses to retain and create jobs. During the years 2000 to 2005, $215 million was given to 724 businesses . The problem is that the Auditors report doesnt have a breakout of the number of jobs created as opposed to those retained, and the numbers that are reported are from data that is supplied by the businesses, without being verified by the DCED. Penalties are assessed to businesses that dont meet grant criteria so it is imperative that the data that they supply is verified. Considering Pennsylvanias unemployment rate the DCED OGP needs an audit with a full accounting of grants issued. It also needs to be determined if our tax dollars are actually working to benefit our communities and increasing employment or if this department is just another bureaucracy that costs us more than we gain from its intended purpose.