Q&A on GOP Authorities 2022 Candidate Jason Richey on Taxes, Hyperloop and Voting | Information | Pittsburgh
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(Courtesy of the Richey Campaign)
Pa. 2022 gubernatorial candidate Jason Richey
Jason Richey is a 50 year old attorney with K&L Gates in Pittsburgh. A native of Beaver County of Aliquippa, this is his first candidacy for public office.
Though a newcomer to state politics, Richey has argued that he is the most likely candidate to win – the four Republican governors elected since 1966 are from western Pennsylvania.
His campaign website offers a 12-point Pennsylvanian contract that covers everything from manufacturing and transportation to police and voting.
Capital-Star: Why are you running for governor? You know, you’ve never been to an elected office, this is your first choice. So why start with the governor and why should you be the next Pennsylvania governor?
Jason Richey: Because Pennsylvania has been in decline for 50 years. And we need someone who is not a politician. We need an outsider to come in and turn things upside down and look at things so we can start bringing the population back and making the Commonwealth grow again.
CS: How do you see your lack of experience in public office? Do you see this as an advantage or do people ask you questions about it?
JR: It’s a complete enrichment. I am an expert on governments. I have been working as a lawyer in one of the largest law firms for 26 years, dealing with energy, construction, [and] Infrastructure, as well as bidder protests, corruption and public procurement. So I am an expert, more than qualified and ready to lead. But I think we need a new vision for this state.
CS: You have a very comprehensive plan posted on your website with guidelines that I hope you want to implement. One of the things that really stand out is a 0% income tax. Why do you think this is the right policy for Pennsylvania?
JR: I know that. First, we’ve seen states like Delaware, Tennessee, Texas, Florida – if they do that, they’ll boom. Tennessee is a great example. Nashville was a rundown city and they got slow over time [the income tax rate to] Zero.
And that’s something that people want and that companies want. Because an income tax only punishes people for work. And you should never do that if people have the guts to start a small business or get off their bums and go to work. We want to reward that … The zero percent [income tax rate] will be a catalyst in bringing new people here, bringing new businesses here, and helping unleash the power of Pennsylvania.
CS: Many plans have called for sales tax and income tax increases in order to reduce or lower property taxes. I mention this because there has been a lot of activism in the state. There is a hearing on this in Lebanon [County] by the state legislators within the next two weeks. So do you see a way to address property taxes in a plan that will reduce income taxes to zero?
So first, let me say that the Republicans have long promised this abolition or significant reduction in property taxes. And it didn’t happen. Because there are different constituencies in the Commonwealth …
… The root of the problem is that we have 2,463 parishes – the third most in the country – and 500 school districts. Where appropriate, we want to encourage local governments to achieve economies of scale. That could mean regional police [or emergency medical services].
Take the Northern Regional Police in Allegheny County, for example. Northern Allegheny County’s parishes came together to assemble a police force. It’s less expensive and you have better police force who can do more. So the regional police is one way of reducing property taxes.
Also, we want – I want to emphasize the word for all of your readers, the word voluntary – we need to incentivize inefficient places or schools that may be half empty to consider voluntary merging with a neighbor. Because we’re just not getting enough economies of scale out of our local government school district.
If we do these things – this is totally independent of income tax – income tax can go down to zero. At the same time, we can be smarter about local government. And the state has to be the leader and the governor has to be the leader to encourage more economies of scale. In this way, we can get to the bottom of the root cause of property tax and lower property tax without increasing other taxes.
CS: Basically, you see the property tax problem as a systemic problem of a large number of Pennsylvania local governments that sometimes duplicate each other’s work, and when there is consolidation of government there is a smaller government, there is no no need to address [property taxes] with government tax changes can it only be resolved at the local level?
JR: The main cause of many problems in Pennsylvania, both state and local, is that we have too much government. And a lot of people don’t understand why.
The reason is that our state constitution was fundamentally rewritten in 1870. And then we were the second most populous state. We had money flown out of all 67 counties. And there wasn’t much competition …
… What happened over time is that the Pennsylvanians are in competition with the other 49 states. You are in competition with people all over the world. And our politicians will not give up their seats.
We have the largest and most expensive legislature in the whole country. To the right. The most expensive legislator. We have a huge executive, we have all this local government. We have all these commissions politicians get to hire their friends and make a few hundred thousand dollars.
We’re shrinking the size of our government so Pennsylvania is a lean, mean fighting machine. We can lower our taxes, property and income taxes, so that our citizens and businesses that come here can compete and we can become an economic powerhouse in the United States.
CS: You are [campaign website] mentioned hyperloop [a futuristic transportation system using vacuum tubes that’s still being tested]. I mention it because there are parishes in western Pennsylvania – Altoona, Johnstown – that just say, “Give us an extra Amtrak train.” That’s what they want. And Hyperloop, you know, is an idea. It’s a concept that seems very cool, but has not really been implemented anywhere. So why Hyperloop?
JR: I am for bullet trains … communities like Altoona and Johnstown are great examples. And the same on the east side of the state [such as] Reading.
If they have quick 30 minute access to Pittsburgh International Airport or Philadelphia International Airport, we will bring these communities to life. And the fact is, as you’ve seen all over the world [high speed rail] is the future. Whether China that [European Union], they are investing in bullet trains to connect.
So if we want to be competitive in the 21st century, and we want the entire Commonwealth – not just Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – to be successful, I believe that bullet trains are absolutely necessary. And these are projects that take a lot of time to plan, develop and implement. But we need a governor who has the foresight to plan Pennsylvania for the future.
The reason I mentioned Hyperloop is because it’s the latest and greatest technology out there. It looks like they are preparing to go online. I’ve spoken to some of the top people, for example at [the British-founded conglomerate] Virgin Hyperloop on their development. And I think if I become governor, when that technology is up and running … the type of high-speed rail we might want to choose could be Hyperloop … it’s a concept, it’s an idea, and I think it’s worth exploring .
CS: A big issue in this election cycle will also be electoral reform, electoral politics in Pennsylvania. You said you were thinking [Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law] Law 77 is unconstitutional. Aside from the unconstitutionality or unconstitutionality of Act 77, if you were governor, the Richey administration would go to the General Assembly and say, “This is what you are supposed to do to change Pennsylvania’s electoral law?”
JR: Well, I would keep Act 77, No. 1. and [pass] a voter ID [law]. These two things. If you do these two things, you will bring integrity back. We had integrity before Law 77. And I believe that the voter ID is a requirement for integrity.
CS: With Act 77, is it your rejection of the postal vote or just the way postal votes were conducted in Pennsylvania? For example, what if the General Assembly took up a constitutional amendment to approve the postal ballot papers that looked like Law 77? Would you support that? Or are you just against the general concept of postal voting?
JR: I am against public order. There is a concept called ballot harvest. While collecting ballots, someone can walk into an apartment and say, “Did you fill out your form for a postal vote?” No. “I’ll fill out the form for you.”
And then, when the ballot comes in and it’s there on your desk, “Did you fill out your ballot?” No. “Let me help you with this.” And they can put pressure on or even fill out the ballot for someone else to vote, and that’s how you reap. That is why it is called “harvesting”.
[Editor’s note: Ballot harvesting is illegal in most cases in Pennsylvania. Only people with disabilities can designate another individual to return their ballot.]
Our constitution requires that people vote in a voting booth. And the reason for this is that when you’re on that poll and you’re in that cubicle, no one knows who you’re voting for. There is no pressure, you can choose who you want. I would therefore like to make the vote easier for you. I want people to be able to vote as easily as possible. I asked for a national holiday so that everyone could have access to the elections because that is crucial. I think we should do better. But at the same time we want to make it hard to cheat.
CS: As far as I know, you should be attending an event in Pittsburgh with a group called the Iron City Citizens Response Unit. Also check the Voting PA. You are a group that claims there was a lot of fraud in the 2020 Pennsylvania elections. As far as I know, you have withdrawn from this event. Is that exactly? And if so, why?
JR: I was just asked to speak at an event in Pittsburgh. Then when I saw the flyer that came out and we checked it, we didn’t think it was an appropriate event, so we backed off.
CS: Why wasn’t it appropriate?
JR: Some of the people who should be at this event have disgusting principles. And I don’t even want to be associated with it or breathe the same air that they breathe. So we are very picky. As the governor of Pennsylvania, I must be the leader of all people. And I didn’t want anything to do with that.
[Editor’s note: After publication, a spokesperson for Richey said in an email that Richey does not have a problem with Audit the Vote, and the reason he pulled out was the Iron City Citizens Response Unit.]
CS: Do you support an examination of the 2020 elections?
CS: Do you think there was fraud in the 2020 elections?
JR: That is the purpose of the audit, that we have to see what happened.
Stephen Caruso is a reporter for the Pennsylvania Capital star, where this story first appeared.
Q&A on GOP Government 2022 Candidate Jason Richey on Taxes, Hyperloop and Voting | News | Pittsburgh Source link Q&A with 2022 GOP gov. Candidate Jason Richey on Taxes, Hyperloop and Voting | News | Pittsburgh