Posted: May 22, 2012 8:28 PM by Marnee Banks - Montana's News Station
Updated: May 24, 2012 10:35 AM
Capitol reporter Marnee Banks has posed questions to each of the candidates who are running to become the next governor of Montana.
Here is how Republican candidate Ken Miller replied to the questions.
To learn more about Miller visit his website at http://www.Miller4Governor.com/.
Currently the State of Montana is predicted to end the biennium with more than $400 million in the general fund. What will you do with this money?
My budget will have a healthy projected ending fund balance with the remaining dollars being returned to taxpayers by lowering their real estate property taxes. As Montana establishes a healthy economy with revenues coming from our natural resources we can then eliminate the statewide portion of real estate taxes.
The State of Montana is facing a huge deficit in its pension system. How do you plan on addressing this?
We need new employees to move into a defined compensation retirement program like 401k plans. Current employees must increase their contribution rates in the currently defined benefits system. We must repeal the automatic cost of living increase in any system not actuarially sound. We need to lower projected earnings estimates to be more realistic; the current estimated earnings of 7.5 % are unrealistic and misrepresent the real shortfall. Finally, we must have proper contribution and payout levels for a sound system into the future
Are you happy with the state's current eminent domain laws? If not, what would you like to see changed?
I did not support HB198. I was the only candidate that came out in opposition to the bill during the legislative session. Private property rights are paramount to the U.S. Constitution. "Eminent Domain" should only be used in very few specific usages. In the case of the company who wanted to construct the power lines that resulted in HB 198, there were other options that existed which would have not trampled on private property rights. We all want to have more jobs created and understand the need for Eminent Domain in a few cases that are needed for the good of all citizens. This whole debate, and unfortunate dividing of Montanan's, was a result of poor leadership from the Governor's office.
How would you like to see Fish, Wildlife & Parks manage wolves?
We need to designate them as predators, the same as a coyote. The federal government should have no input as to what we do in our state in regards to wolves until their numbers are lowered the promised level of 150 wolves.
If the U.S. Supreme Court keeps the Affordable Care Act intact, an estimated 82,000 Montanans will be added to the Medicaid system by 2019. How do you plan on paying for this?
Montanans must reject Obamacare. The damage goes way beyond Medicaid. Obamacare is devastating to individual families and businesses. The Miller/Gallagher team will, with the Legislature, put forward a Montana solution. A solution that empowers individuals, allows across Stateline buying, and promotes health savings accounts. We must take charge of our healthcare and health insurance options.
Last session the Montana Legislature tightened up the state's DUI laws. Do you believe they are adequate? If not, where would you like to see changes?
I'm convinced there are additional options to assuring that DUI drivers are kept of the road without putting such a large burden on tax payers and afflicted families. The goal should be keeping the offender a productive part of the community and their families as well as keeping them off the road. With new knowledge and technology we can accomplish these goals.
Montana is rich in natural resources. What is your plan for developing wind, oil, gas and coal?
Much of what is needed to enjoy a robust natural resource industry in Montana is leadership with the knowledge and backbone to standup against the obstructionist and make it very clear that we are no longer going to allow the filing of ongoing road blocks against us being able to utilize our natural resources and allow good paying jobs and revenue to lower our individual tax burdens. I'm an environmentalist, I want clean air and water, we all do. We can have a clean environment and have a resource based economy, a base that will also promote manufacturing, high tech, and service industry jobs. In addition to the pro-business/natural resource policies that Bill Gallagher and I will implement, we need to rein in our regulatory laws with "loser pay" legislation, expedited permitting processes and limiting the judicial regulatory over reach. In addition we need to clearly define the meaning of the "healthy environment" clause in the state constitution and have the definitions determined by the legislature. We need to get Montana out of the 9th circuit court of appeals. We have to much influence from the federal government on our state now, we don't need a Governor from that environment. It's time Montanans take back control of our state like Wyoming and North Dakota have done.
Explain where you stand on abortion, homosexual marriage, & the death penalty.
I'm pro-life, believe a marriage is between one man and one woman and support capital punishment for undisputed horrendous crimes.
Are you proposing any changes to Montana's tax structure? If so please explain.
Through revenue generated from a healthy natural resource economy we will eliminate business equipment tax, corporate income tax, and the statewide accessed real estate tax. All are job deterrent taxes and harmful to individuals.
Should corporations be allowed to spend money to influence Montana elections? Why or why not?
All groups should have the same restrictions. Businesses should be allowed to defend themselves when under attack. Voters should have full transparency to whom and why groups are trying to influence elections.
Do you think Montana voters trust their elected officials? Please explain.
Both parties have elected officials that have let them down. We need to elect leadership with the experiences to understand what Montanans want and the backbone to accomplish those goals. Electing a former Congressman will be adopting more Washington D.C. politics.
Why should someone vote for you?
My experiences of working with my wife of 31 years deep in agriculture; including dairy farming, irrigation farming, cattle and sheep ranching, along with small business development of construction, manufacturing, and retail sales gives me the "real life Montana experiences" to serve "real life Montanans". Combining my real life experiences with my legislative experiences, in which I have served with a steady, fiscally conservative voting record, a proven commitment to stand firm through difficult decisions, and do what is right for Montana are the hallmarks of my service. With my running mate Bill Gallagher's experiences of business, teaching, practicing law, and serving as a PSC commissioner, we are uniquely qualified to lead our state into the future.