Maloney focuses on jobs, education
HUNTINGTON -- Championing a more common-sense approach to government and personal responsibility for the population at large, West Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney presented what he calls his "blueprint for a brighter future" to members of The Herald-Dispatch editorial board Tuesday afternoon.
Maloney touched on issues ranging from substance abuse to strengthening the education system and making the state a healthier place to live. One of his first topics of concern, however, was about ways to create new jobs in West Virginia.
"We need to create a better environment to start and grow businesses and keep our children in our state," said Maloney, citing his own company that started with two employees. "I've been there. I know how to fix it."
Maloney said he favors correcting the state's "antiquated" tax structure and repairing the judicial climate to encourage businesses to locate in West Virginia. He offered the concept of a three- to five-year moratorium on taxes on business equipment industries need.
"You go across the state line and look at companies there, and they aren't taxing equipment. Maybe we should quit doing that. When you buy equipment, you don't make any money on it in the first few years anyway," Maloney said. "If we offered a three- to five-year moratorium on taxing equipment, which is a very regressive tax, it would be a start to fixing this archaic tax code."
Maloney said another component to drawing business to West Virginia is investing more money in the classroom, including updating technological capabilities such as broadband Internet access in all areas.
"We need more dollars in our classrooms. RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) is not working, and our kids are not getting the education they deserve," he said. "We don't need more consultants and more bureaucracy. We need to actually move forward and fix things and use some common sense."
Maloney spoke about the state's health woes and how improving them could be tied in to the state's vast natural resources.
"We hike, we bike, we try to get out and do something every day. It makes your whole outlook on life better," he said. "Our parks, trails and outdoors here are one of our greatest assets, and we don't promote it like we should. We could do more to increase tourism dollars and promote a healthier outlook."
Maloney said he's in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act and questioned the idea of expanding Medicaid under its umbrella, although he added there is a need to provide basic health care to the uninsured.
"The last thing we want to do is make people be more dependent. We need to make people more responsible for their own health," he said. "Maybe we can incentivize it somehow with HSAs (health spending accounts), where there is so much set aside for doctors' visits and if you don't spend it, it's yours."
Maloney also addressed concerns about substance abuse and prison overcrowding.
"If we create a diverse economy that is growing, people will have a better outlook," Maloney said. "We need to better coordinate private recovery programs and mentoring programs for people when they get out of treatment or prison."
Regarding home rule, Maloney said he is in favor of giving cities and counties more control over their own destinies.
"People in Huntington know better what they need and should have more control over those decisions," he said.