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 a county commissioner. 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 limited role for government. Good government exists to aide its citizens in achieving greatness by creating an environment for people to succeed. Good government is only involved in business not better served by the private sector. 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.
In Morgan County, we enjoyable very favorable property taxes, but overly punitive income taxes. County government has an enormous responsibility to the citizens of the county – quality roads, maintaining a jail and criminal justice system, providing public safety by means of a well-staffed and trained sheriff’s department and emergency management agency, among numerous other necessary and important services. These services cost money to provide and I understand this first-hand. The need for these services, however, doesn’t give elected leadership a blank check from the taxpayers. County leaders must balance a fine line between adequate funding and responsible and equitable taxation.
Just like our household budgets, government should not live on more than it makes. Every dollar is a public dollar, and therefore, every expense should be carefully considered against a cost vs. reward scenario. Expenses should be reduced when and where possible.
When our county attracts a new business, or an existing business expands, less financial burden falls on the citizens. Additionally, jobs are created and more dollars are spent in our communities. To me, economic development doesn’t mean “selling the family farm” so a factory can be built. Quite the contrary. Agriculture is a significant portion of our county’s economy. Economic development success occurs when there is a good balance and harmony between residential, agricultural and commercial development within a community, combined with a high quality of life and sense of place, and an eager and educated workforce. I have a passion for economic development, and want to work to see that Morgan County is well-positioned to compete for jobs.