Jason Sheppard for Representative

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Platform

-Tax Policy

I will never be in favor of a tax increase. When the state is looking to balance a budget, it is time to reign in spending instead of taxing the citizens more to do it. After seeing a nearly billion-dollar surplus, which is a great sign of a thriving Michigan, we should look to give back to those that gave in the first place to achieve this goal. Many factors need to be considered in the arena of taxation. First, elimination of the Michigan business tax and the possible elimination of the personal property tax are huge steps in making Michigan a business friendly place again. Despite that important step, I would draw focus to two other areas before all else. The first would be the individual income tax, its time to relieve some of the burden put on our citizens and lower the individual income tax rate across the board. The second step is to repeal the pension tax.

Bottom line: I want to see more money in the citizen’s pocket. I will not favor tax increase, and believe strongly in common sense approval and use of funds.

-Roads

The infrastructure of Michigan is failing and it is time to evaluate spending levels, as well as the allocation of money. We must make smart, common sense decisions about how to spend our money. The 83 counties are funded based upon miles of roads, not use of roads. Because of this formula, counties with smaller populations or less use of the road system can be receiving more funding than counties with a larger population, or a heavier traffic flow. I would also eliminate pet projects that are skimmed off the top of the gas tax and registration fees. All the money that is allocated to road systems should only go to road systems. This follows the concept of common sense spending. I will also be looking at an alternative to the fuel tax. Due to more efficient vehicles and the high cost of gasoline, the income generated has seen a decline. I feel that we should explore all options when it comes to finding a good steady source of income for our infrastructure system. The citizens and visitors of Michigan deserve better roads and I will fight to make travel and everyday commutes a more positive experience.

Bottom line: It’s time to evaluate what we are spending, and where it is being spent. Michiganders have spent too long dealing with bad road conditions.

-Education

Its time to examine how school districts are set up and make some much needed changes. With the recession, businesses had to look closely at bottom lines and process improvements over the last few years. I feel that most schools have not taken this initiative. Many schools are heavily administrated and this takes money out of educating our children and putting funds into large salaries, retirement plans and benefit packages. When we examine pre K and K-12 funding, not all districts of the state are alike. Each community has different and unique circumstances and needs. This means that there needs to be a local government presence, led by the parents and the community. I would be an advocate of school board elections being held during primaries and general elections. I feel that this would make the most of our school board elections, and produce a higher communityinvolvement. We also need to focus attention on community colleges and vocational programs at the high school level. I have visited with several businesses and community leaders and the comments are all the same: “we cannot find any skilled labor to fill these positions.” Four-year universities are not within the means, or interests, of every student. We should encourage students to look into the skilled labor force. With all the innovations and technology today, there are countless opportunities for our students to take advantage of. I am committed to working with educators and students to bridge the labor gap in our region.

Bottom line: Because schools do not work on unlimited funds (tax-payer dollars), we should be more closely evaluating where every dollar goes. This will give our kids a better chance at a higher quality education, while preparing them for their post-graduation futures.

-No-fault Insurance

It is time for michigan to re-vamp the no fault insurance program. For too long citizens and business alike have paid higher premiums due to the unlimited medical claims from catastrophic accidents. This fund is a private fund and has no real oversight. When you break down the real cost of fixing your automobile on average only $30/month goes to auto repair – the rest is all medical and contributes to the catastrophic fund. It is time to change this and provide competitive insurance rates for out citizens and give people more reason to do business in Michigan.

-Pro-life
I am a pro-life candidate and I will stand by the statement that life begins at conception.

-Pro 2nd amendment
As an NRA member and gun owner, I fully support the citizens being able to carry, own and use firearms.

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