1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? Answer: I read HB 2001, known as the tax reform bill, approved by our legislators and signed by Governor Herbert. I could see that it was a bad piece of legislation and bad for the people of Utah, so I volunteered to work 6 hour shifts at my local Harmon’s Grocery Store gathering signatures for the referendum petition. The signature gathering process turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for me to communicate with my fellow signature gatherers and many wonderful people of Utah. It also provided the opportunity to help people register to vote and become involved in the political process. I often tell people that politics will happen with or without you and it’s better for you if it happens with you.
2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? Answer: I am opposed to taxing groceries that are needed for our daily survival. Reason: Lower income earning families spend more on food at home than the higher income earning families. When lower income families are taxed on necessary groceries, it lessens their income and creates barriers that make it harder to afford other daily expenses, like gas and utilities. Answer: I am opposed to more gas tax at this time. Reason: It’s my understanding that UDOT will begin a road usage charge pilot program; in the long-term this funding mechanism would shift road funding away from gas taxes and toward drivers by charging them for the miles they drive on Utah roads. It’s also my understanding that vehicle registration fees on electric vehicles have been increased to support road use. This increase is intended to offset the lack of gas tax owners pay. Registration fees for all vehicles will now be tied to inflation to ensure that fees don’t decline in real terms. So, at this time, I would like to see if and how the road usage charge program and the additional registration fees work out.
3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? Answer: I don’t believe we should be attempting to implement taxes on services at this time. Reason: We switched from a manufacturing economy to a service economy in the 80’s and 90’s; that’s when we should have considered taxing services. Currently, we are in an economic and financial crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, I believe we need to turn our attention and focus on job creation and growing back our great Utah economy. Nevertheless, I am accepting of actions to tax the gig economy, digital downloads, Amazon purchases, and getting online retailers to collect and remit tax.
4. Many Utahns felt that after the town halls and committee meetings that the legislative tax task force held throughout 2019 that their concerns were not heard and that special interests wielded too much influence. On the other hand, many legislators felt that the people didn’t understand the issue or the solutions that they put forth. If elected, how would you respond to the concerns and issues that your constituents bring to you and how would you educate them on the issues you are dealing with? Answer: I believe that government requires a bond of trust between constituents and their representatives. I intend to achieve this bond of trust by: • Making it my goal to appeal to the best instincts of the electorate by talking about what I stand for and what I intend to do during my time in office; then working as hard as I can to fulfill my promises. • Communicating with my constituents about how I evaluate issues and arrive at decisions. I’ll think through the issues before making any decision, then explain that decision and how I got there to my constituents. If I’ve committed to vote a certain way and then I get additional information that changes my mind, I will communicate that to my constituents (either before or after I vote). • Returning phone calls, answering e-mails and letters, and having town hall meetings. I want my constituents to know that I am approachable and responsible; that I represent them. I intend to start a blog or post my views on a Facebook page.
5. Are you willing to vote against bills that legislative leadership wants you to support even when threatened with losing coveted committee positions, having your legislation held hostage, etc? Explain Answer: Yes, I am willing to vote against bills that I am put under duress to support, as I am beholding to my constituents and not legislative leadership.
6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not. Answer: Yes, I am in favor of HB 357 due to Senator Ann Millner (R) laying out a convincing argument in favor of the amendment. As such, I have not seen any committees, organizations, or individuals opposing it. However, I’d like to comment as follows: It’s my understanding that the Utah Constitution requires individual income taxes, corporate income and franchise taxes, as well as taxes on intangible property to fund public and higher education. This tax revenue funds public elementary and secondary schools as well as public universities and colleges. Additionally, according to Section 2 of Article X of the Utah Constitution, the Utah Legislature may also designate additional education institutions to receive state funding. This said, if I am elected to congress to serve Utah’s 4th District, one of my priorities is to overhaul our education system. I believe that parents should have choice in sending their children to public elementary and secondary schools. I also believe that in this time of technology and resources, there is no reason for college students to get in a car and leave their carbon footprint. There is also no reason for them to pay thousands of dollars for a lecture course and/or be saddled with thousands of dollars of student loan debt.
7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. I am often asked, “What makes you different than other candidates running for office?” I simply answer, “I walk the walk!” Because of the COVID-19 pandemic scourging our country, it’s a great blessing to see the citizens of Utah successfully repeal the flawed 2019 tax bill, which was repealed in its entirety . . . I am happy to be part of the process.