Louisiana Association of Business and Industry: LABI

The LABI questions are in bold and numbered. Sean’s answers are below each question.

  1. I oppose further expansion of state government until economic growth provides additional revenue from the existing tax base.

I oppose the policies which would divert federal tax dollars we already pay to other states merely for the purpose of scoring political points. Cutting state general fund spending often results in massive reductions in federal matching funds which are not fiscally responsible and which result in causing Louisiana taxpayers to pay for services to citizens of other states. Too often this has led to bad policy decisions at the state level which have prevented us from investing in things which help business like infrastructure including ports, bridges, and roads. I also oppose expanding any government giveaways which do not produce appropriate return on investment – that includes both spending programs and tax credits, exemptions, and rebates.

  1. I support proposals that require state government to operate on a budget in which recurring expenditures are funded only by recurring revenues.

I support a government that lives within its means. I also support smart investments in the future and responsible use of resources and tools like bonding capacity to invest back into the projects that our taxpayers have trusted us to fund.

  1. I oppose increasing business taxes, whether in the form of new or higher taxes, or repealing or suspending business tax exemptions, exclusions, or tax credits.

I support continuously evaluating all tax credits, exemptions rebates for business and individuals to ensure that they are appropriate and producing a proper return on investment for the state the grows our economy.

  1. I support the constitutional Budget Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) and will protect it from statutory legislative attacks.

The budget stabilization fund is an important means of financing and it’s appropriate that we dedicate it to worthy causes only.

  1. I oppose raising the homestead exemption above $75,000.

I believe that our state’s tax system still needs serious reforms to make it work for consumers, individual taxpayers and especially for small businesses. I would like to consider all tax reform ideas that are brought to my attention as a package of reform that works for working families, rather than focusing on specific, individual ideas.

  1. I oppose re-enacting a state prevailing wage law.

I support all laws and the enforcement of such laws which give working people the ability to seek dignity in the workplace and which are not unduly burdensome to ethical employers.

  1. I oppose raiding legislatively dedicated funds that were created and funded by fees paid to accomplish a specific regulatory purpose.

I am opposed to fund sweeps because they are illegal and as a legislator I would not support breaking the laws I am sworn to uphold.

  1. I oppose raising fees with the departments of state government in excess of the direct cost of providing services for which the fees are charged.

Some departments of state government are self-funded completely through self-generated fees. Some are not. A one-size-fits-all philosophy for every department without regard for what services they render or how they generate funds to do so is not logical. I will be a logical legislator accountable for ensuring that government can deliver critical, lifesaving, and necessary services to the people of my district in the most efficient way possible.

  1. I oppose the use of fees assessed by one division of a state agency to fund programs for a different division.

See answer to number 43 above.

  1. I oppose efforts to repeal the 10-year industrial property tax exemption (IPTEP).

See answer to 38 and 40 above.

  1. I oppose removing education millages from the IPTEP.

See answer to 38 and 40 above.

  1. I oppose limiting IPTEP contracts to single five-year contracts.

See answer to 38 and 40 above.

  1. I oppose efforts to impose hydrocarbon processing, production or transportation taxes on Louisiana’s oil and gas industry and Louisiana consumers.

See answer to 38 and 40 above.

  1. I oppose legislation which would impose new or increased taxes on the generation, transportation, storage, disposal, incineration, recycling, injection or treatment of hazardous waste.

See answer to 38 and 40 above.

  1. I oppose legislation that would shift more of the property tax burden from homeowners onto business.

See answer to 38 and 40 above.

  1. I oppose “Agency Shop” legislation and any other legislation which would weaken Louisiana’s Right to Work Law.

I support policies that afford working families the ability to promote safe, equitable, and non-discriminatory policies in manners that are not unduly burdensome to ethical employers.

  1. I oppose legislation to authorize employee tort suits against employers for workplace injuries that are currently covered exclusively by Louisiana’s workers compensation law.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I oppose legislation to divert employer unemployment taxes to purposes other than the funding of benefits to unemployed workers.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I oppose legislation that expands unemployment compensation (UC) coverage.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I oppose legislation that increases the UC benefit levels without an equivalent reduction in UC tax levels.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I oppose the expansion of workers’ compensation benefits.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. If the courts expand the workers compensation law to allow for causes of action in excess of or contrary to legislative intent, I will support legislation to overturn those decisions.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I support legislation to provide for employer choice of physician in workers compensation to prevent doctor shopping, overtreatment, unnecessary surgery, and excessive costs.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I support legislation to strengthen requirements for injured workers to comply with vocational and physical rehabilitation programs to return them to work sooner.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I oppose state-mandated collective bargaining in public schools and other areas of state and local government.

I support educators in my district and will listen closely to their expertise on issues relating to their employment and to their ideas for improving our education system. See answer to 51 above.

  1. I support a prohibition on governmental entities collecting union dues from public employees and remitting to the unions.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I oppose legislation that expands employers’ exposure to lawsuits by their employees for allegations such as pay discrimination due to gender or wrongful discharge.

See answer to 51 above. There is no excuse for gender pay gap in Louisiana. As a State Representative I will consider all suggestions for how to fix this chronic problem.

  1. I oppose legislation that establishes a state or local minimum wage.

I support the rights and authority of local government to take actions they believe will improve their local economy and stop injustice, including a sufficient living wage.

  1. I support retaining the limited theories of liability for manufacturers established in the 1988 products liability reform law.

The tort reform of 1996, while good for special interests who want to put dangerous products into the stream of commerce, actually limits Louisiana citizens access to justice. When a company puts a dangerous product on the market Louisiana citizens should be able to hold them accountable. My policy as legislator will be to support legislation that is fair to consumers and not overly burdensome to ethical businesses.

  1. I oppose legislation which would authorize the attorney general to enter into contingency fee contracts or to employ outside counsel to be paid by the defendants or the state from the proceeds of awards and/or settlements.

I will support policies which encourage the state, through the office of the Attorney General, to defend against or institute any cause of action in which the vital interest of our state are at stake. The means by which the Attorney General accomplishes this goal should not be restricted by predictions about the outcome of the litigation. What matters to me, and what should matter to all public servants, is whether we are serving the interests our people.

  1. I oppose legislation which would increase the current one-year time period for filing certain tort suits.

As a member of the legislature I would balance the positive public policy outcomes of proposed changes to our civil code with the possible negative impact on access to justice for both plaintiffs and defendants. Prescriptive periods impact access to justice and warrant careful consideration before any changes are made.

  1. I support a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to a trial by jury in civil actions in Louisiana state courts.

I support legislation that gives people an opportunity to be heard in court for legitimate claims, and be fairly compensated based on their damages.

  1. I support reducing the threshold amount to qualify for a jury trial from the current $50,000 or eliminating the threshold entirely. (36 other states are currently at $0)

See answer to 67 above.

  1. I support legislation to allow the judge and jury to be informed of all compensation received by the plaintiff in order to eliminate double recovery of damages. (Collateral Source)

See answer to 67 above.

  1. I support legislation to repeal a law that allows plaintiffs to sue insurance companies directly rather than suing the persons they allege to be responsible for their injuries. (Direct Action)

See answer to 67 above.

  1. I oppose legislation allowing punitive damages to be awarded above and beyond the general damages currently allowed (punitive damages reform of 1996).

See answer to 67 above.

  1. I support the 1996 law that eliminated recovery for multiple defendants or an individual, regardless of fault (joint and several liability.)

See answer to 67 above.

  1. I support retaining the elimination of liability based solely on ownership and custody without consideration for negligence (elimination of the strict liability law.)

See answer to 67 above.

  1. I oppose additional state mandates in health care coverages on policies provided by private-sector employers for their employees.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I oppose changes in state-provided health care programs that would shift costs to the private sector.

See answer to 51 above.

  1. I support retaining and not raising the 1975 law that instituted a $500,000 medical malpractice cap on injuries and damages.

See answer to 67 above.

  1. I support legislation which would further reform legacy lawsuits by allowing oilfield operators to voluntarily clean up contaminated sites without assuming liability for damages caused by other operators.

My policy as a state legislator will be to promote policies that increase access to justice while protecting Louisiana’s most valuable natural resources for future generations. I will balance this goal with the need to prevent unduly burdensome regulation on ethical businesses.

  1. I oppose state environmental regulations which are stricter and more intrusive than federal environmental regulations

See answer to 77 above.

  1. I support existing laws granting exclusive jurisdiction of the Louisiana environmental affairs program at the state level, including siting of new industries, as well as solid and hazardous waste facilities, rather than allowing each local government to create its own program.

See answer to 77 above. I support giving people a say over what happens in their own back yards. Local jurisdictions should have the opportunity to weigh in on proposals that affect them.

  1. I support existing laws that grant exclusive jurisdiction of the Louisiana Ground Water Management program at the state level, rather than at a regional or local level.

See answer to 77 and 79 above.

  1. I will oppose any attempts to water down Louisiana’s accountability/high stakes testing program.

I oppose efforts to further diminish the voice of parents and educators in designing our educational system. I remain accountable to the people of District 90 who demand meaningful improvement in our public education system focused on the needs of their children. We are not interested in the desires of administrators in Baton Rouge who seek to procure more test scores, not develop more knowledge. After 10 years of freezes to ours state’s K-12 public education funding, the Minimum Foundation Program, my primary focus in this area will be reinvesting in our children. They have, for too long, been disregarded and ignored in favor of talking points about “accountability.”

  1. I support legislation that would provide maximum choice for parents in choosing their child’s education (i.e., vouchers, scholarships and/or tax credits that would allow children to attend public and nonpublic schools that are willing to comply with the state’s public education accountability program).

See answer to 81 above.

  1. I support policies and/or legislation that would result in the creation of more charter schools.

See answer to 81 above.

  1. I support legislation that would impose term limits for local school board members.

See answer to 81 above.

  1. I support repealing tenure for teachers and school bus drivers.

See answer to 81 above.

  1. I support the current contribution levels and reporting requirements in state campaign finance laws.

I support transparency in elections and governmental ethics period. This include transparency in government spending such as granting public access to details about the nature and amounts of tax giveaways including rebates, exemptions, and credits to corporations. Every citizen should know what its government is doing with their tax dollars, just as they should know what candidates and elected officials are doing with the dollars they receive from special interests.

  1. I support total disclosure of all campaign contributions and all campaign spending.

Yes.

  1. I support the rights of citizens to organize and participate in political action committees.

Yes.

  1. I would oppose attempts to allow legislators to add projects to or modify existing projects in the annual Highway Priority and Port Priority Programs.

These funds are legislated through annual appropriations. Legislative oversight is appropriate. Our state recently doubled its port priority fund to invest in needed dredging at our ports and keep business in Louisiana. No state dollar should be without legislative oversight.

  1. I support present state constitutional restrictions that prohibit state and local classified civil service employees from engaging in partisan political activities, such as running for elective office, contributing to campaigns, and publicly endorsing candidates.

See answer to 86 above.

  1. I would oppose a constitutional amendment that would allow for initiative and referendum in Louisiana, resulting in direct ballot access as a method for changing the state constitution and/or adopting laws.

I will respect the views of the people of District 90 on this issue.

  1. I support eliminating the ability of public sector unions to use taxpayer supported payroll deduction systems to collect union dues that are used for political purposes.

Public Employees have the ability to have to deduct contributions from their paychecks for a number of things, including donations to organizations like the United Way, insurance premiums, retirement payments, and trade associations. It is not appropriate for the legislature to micromanage teachers’ paychecks. I will not oppose the continued practice of allowing teachers to have payments deducted for teacher organizations which provide vital professional development. Especially since the state of Louisiana has continuously failed to provide such basic benefits to our educators.

  1. Please define the term “Economic Development,” and give specific examples of legislation you will support and other actions you will take in your effort to promote Economic Development in Louisiana.

Economic Development is the action of investing directly in the people of Louisiana. I will oppose policies that send our federal tax dollars to others states instead of reinvesting them here. I will support ending broken tax giveaways so that we can afford to reinvest in students, infrastructure, and true drivers of our economy.

  1. What are your education priorities?

As long as we remain unwilling to truly fund the cost of K-12 education, and as long as we refuse to address the rising cost of tuition, we will remain at the bottom of the most important lists in the nation. Solving the appropriations issue takes honesty and a willingness to work with others. It also takes someone who is willing to work with others to make hard choices and do the difficult work of governing.

  1. In your opinion, do you think Louisiana businesses are taxed…

Right level.

  1. In your opinion, what parts of the state budget are in need of review? What should be reduced and what should be increased?

We should constantly review all tax credits, exemptions and rebates to see what is getting return on investment. Inside our largest spending programs we should review what vendors are doing the best job of finding and continuing efficiencies and we should push for investments in technologies that can increase those efficiencies in the areas of healthcare, education, and tax collection.