On the Issues
Below I’ve listed my perspective on a variety of issues. Some are very specific to county government and very specific to the role of the County Council. Other issues discussed below do not directly relate to county government leadership, but they represent philosophies that guide my thinking.
Role of Government
I believe in a small and limited role for government. Government has a responsibility to provide specific services for citizens. Furthermore, creating an environment for people to succeed should be a priority for all elected officials. We need to focus on running all government agencies like a business with accountability and responsibility. In Indiana county government, there is a statutory separation of powers between the board of commissioners and the council; the commissioners administer the day-to-day business operations and leadership of the county, and the council serves as a budgetary check on the commissioners, providing oversight on financial matters and matters of taxation.
Taxes are an unpopular, but necessary component for all levels of government. I believe we should find ways to grow the tax base rather than grow tax rates on current residents. The tax base grows as economic development grows. We need more businesses and taxpayers contributing to the Boone County tax base. County governments use tax dollars to maintain quality roads, operate a jail, sustain a criminal justice system, train and equip the sheriff’s department, ensure fair elections, and many other necessary and important services. It is the responsibility of all government officials to make sure tax dollars are being invested wisely and appropriately.
Just like everyone else, government must live within its means. We can’t spend more than we take in. Furthermore, we need to continually seek avenues to cut expenses, without effecting needed services.
When our county attracts a new business, or an existing business expands, it increases the county’s tax revenue without increasing the tax rate on all citizens. Therefore, strong economic development is essential for local communities to survive and thrive. However, this does not mean developing land “at all costs.” Agriculture contributes greatly to the local economy and is the backbone of communities across Indiana. Much of Indiana’s economic development is derived directly from agriculture. We can find a balance between promoting economic development and protecting agricultural heritage. To accomplish this, we must help shape and guide quality economic development and not just let it happen.
Government is a steward of the citizen’s money. We must be completely open and honest with all citizens as to how and why their money is being spent.