|Paul J. Greenawalt ran for Waterford Township trustee in 2010 and for the state House in 2008, both as a member of the U.S. Taxpayer Party. He is married and has two children.|
Paul J. Greenawalt and Gail Haines are competing in the Tuesday, Aug. 7 Republican primary election for the state House of Representatives 43rd District seat. The winner of the primary election will face the Democratic Party’s nominee in the Nov. 6 election. State representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid $71,685 annually.
The following are the questions we recently posed to Greenawalt, and his responses to those questions.
BUDGET: After years of 11th-hour approvals of state budgets and criticisms of kicking the can down the road on critical fiscal issues, lawmakers have in two consecutive years passed spending plans that have scaled back state spending through tough cuts in certain areas. If elected to the state House of Representatives, what would be your budgeting priorities and why? Do you believe further cuts are needed, and if so, where? Please state where, if anywhere, investments in key areas are necessary?
GREENAWALT: To be able to fully understand our budget, we must post and allow taxpayers to see how all money is spent and what (it is spent) on so we can figure out where to cut the waste and be accountable. I would Invest some in infrastructure and also education. I would also invest in our tourism industry. I would work to balance the budget and not spend more than we bring in.
EDUCATION: Officials representing public school districts have decried what they have said amounted to a $470 per-pupil decrease in education funding instituted during the first year of the 96th state legislative session, particularly when districts had already been grappling with serious structural deficits in the years leading up to implementation of the 2011-12 fiscal year budget. Tell us what you believe needs to be done to be sure our schools are funded adequately. Aside from funding issues, what reforms to the state’s educational system are needed to ensure Michigan’s children receive the education they deserve?
GREENAWALT: On my website, WorthTheVote.com, I talk about my educational voucher program. This would allow parents real choice to send their children to a charter, religious, public or private school. This will not cost the state more in funding and should save the state money. It will also make the schools fight to acquire students, so the schools systems will have to be at the top of their game.
PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX: A spate of measures to either repeal or phase out the state’s personal property tax (PPT) have received the attention of both chambers of the state Legislature this year, prompting concerns among some about how those dollars would be replaced for local communities reliant on PPT revenues. Do you support a repeal or phase-out of the PPT? Why or why not? If a repeal or phase-out is passed, how, if at all, should the state replace those revenues for local units of government?
GREENAWALT: Nobody likes taxes and I think our taxes on our primary residences (are) too high, so I would be happy to lower it if given the chance to vote on the matter. We must have money to pay for services, but I would hope that the local governments scale back their spending.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Four years after the passage of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) following voter approval in the 2008 general election with overwhelming support, local communities are still grappling with its impacts and how to go about addressing its provisions. Explain why you do or don’t believe additional regulations or measures need to be implemented for the MMMA? Do you believe a recent proposal in the state House of Representatives calling for the legalization of so-called “dispensaries” has merit? Why or why not?
GREENAWALT: I believe that people have the right to govern themselves and create their own laws with voting. I am not as versed on this topic, but my thoughts on the matter are this: As long as the dispensaries are licensed with a low fee and trained staff to protect the public from a bad product. I would want everyone who wants to enter this market be allowed so no big companies control the market.
ROAD FUNDING FORMULA: The state’s current road funding distribution formula places more emphasis on the miles of roadway in a county than on traffic density, which tends to favor rural, out-state counties. Please explain why you do or don’t believe that scenario is appropriate. What funding distribution formula changes, if any, should be implemented? Explain why you do or don’t support increases in state fuel taxes to close the gap between available funding and infrastructure needs?
GREENAWALT: I do not support any tax increase on gas or any type of fuel. We already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the nation. The only thing I would consider is to have our gas taxes slightly higher near the Canadian borders to try to capture some of those last-minute tourist dollars to be put to good use in Michigan. Our gas is still much cheaper than Canada’s cost of gas, so they will still buy it. Secondly, investing in Michigan’s infrastructure is important but I need more information to come to a informed answer.
TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the district at this time, and how do you propose to address them?
GREENAWALT: My top issues are jobs, education and tourism. Check it out at WorthTheVote.com
WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
GREENAWALT: Looking at my website and seeing my issues, people can relate to me better as one born in Michigan with a poor upbringing. I also do not have PAC (political action committee) money or special funds and my vote is not bought. I am a regular person like them and will look out for the people’s interest.