Independent Terry Hayes said that if she is elected governor she will support decreasing income taxes and expanding sales taxes to include recreational items, such as ski-lift tickets, movie tickets and bowling.
Hayes, 60, of Buckfield, is running in a four-way race to succeed Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Also running are fellow independent Alan Caron, Republican Shawn Moody and Democrat Janet Mills.
Hayes is a clean elections candidate and the state treasurer. She was a Democrat until 2014 and has served previously in the Maine House. She endorsed Independent Eliot Cutler in his race for governor previously.
Hayes said she would invite passionate Mainers who are experts in economic development and public policy to look at taxation and help develop a long-range plan for the state's budget by January 2020. As part of that, she believes the tax code should be upgraded. She added that her plan would be a nonpartisan plan supported by both sides of the aisle.
That is part of a theme running through her campaign. Hayes characterizes herself as a pragmatic, direct problem-solver who can work with both sides of the aisle and avoid the drama currently plaguing politics.
"We're not solving problems anymore, we're just trying to scare people," she said of the current political climate. She wants to bring a collaborative approach to Augusta.
She sees Maine's shortage of workers as a top priority and her plan to deal with it is to make Maine the best state in the nation in which to work.
However, she said she is not entirely sure what the recipe for that consists of and added that it will take cooperation with the private sector because of limited public resources. She said the goal is to attract and retain young families, which may mean providing low-cost health insurance, assistance with student debt or childcare resources.
As part of this plan she has repeatedly spoken in favor of investing in reliable fiber broadband.
She has no plans to change gun laws, but said that does not mean she is not open to changes. "I think we can honor the Second Amendment and keep our children safe at the same time," she said. She asserted that Maine has a significant record of responsible gun ownership.
She said her administration would fulfill expansion of Medicaid, but added that the system must be fixed to bring costs down and increase reimbursements. Merely adding 70,000 Mainers to the current system is something the state will not be able to afford down the road, she said.
In terms of the drug problem, she said she would lead with compassion. She said we have not invested significant state funds into tackling that problem yet, and we need to in order to "get some skin in the game."
"We are all going to have to contribute more to that," she said.
On the issue of citizen initiatives, she said she is most concerned about the influence of nonresidents on that process. She said that behind a given question on the ballot is a lengthy bill that voters rarely read or understand. She argues that such bills, written by advocates of the initiative, are often written to benefit one narrow group, rather than the public as a whole.
Hayes said she would favor a change to have the questions on the ballot without the bill behind them and then leave it up to the Legislature to write a bill to support the vote of the people. However, she said, that would require a constitutional amendment.