Collins tackles issues for survey in 41st District race

41st Representative District

In the leadup to Nov. 8’s election, the Delaware State News will be running questionnaires from various candidates. If you’ve missed any, visit https://delawarestatenews.net/ and click on the “vote 2016” tab.

The 41st Representative District serves the Millsboro area.

Rich Collins, Republican

Age: 67

Occupation: Insurance agent

Family: Wife Susan, three children, five grandchildren

Elective experience: Elected to the Delaware House in 2014

Bradley Connor, Democrat

Editor’s note: Bradley Connor did not respond to the Delaware State News survey.

 

1. What would be your top priority in this office?

Collins: If I had a magic wand, I would encourage growth of the Delaware economy by reducing taxes and regulations so Delaware could become a magnet for businesses that would create new jobs. This would be for existing businesses as well as new businesses that would relocate to Delaware. Looking at what is politically possible, I intend to propose legislation that will change recently enacted septic regulations that are now starting to seriously harm my constituents financially and are even starting to cause some home abandonments.

19dsn lawmakers Rich Collins by .

Rich Collins

2. If you could change one state policy or law, what would it be?

Collins: Recently revised septic system regulations. DNREC-mandated inspections are failing over 70 percent of existing systems, forcing replacements that often cost more than $20,000. The environmental benefit is unmeasurable but the cost is overwhelming.

3. Do you support raising the minimum wage?

Collins: No. When the emotion is taken out of the issue, it is clear that it harms the very people it is supposed to help. Now, even fast food restaurants are reducing employees by going to electronic order screens. Technology is eliminating many minimum wage jobs and a higher wage will only accelerate that process. Furthermore, young people need work experience that will allow them to prove their worth and thereby move up the ladder of economic success. That can’t happen if they can’t get on the ladder in the first place.

4. How can the state best create jobs?

Collins: The state must cut taxes and regulations, plus shorten the time that it takes to issue permits, so that the private economy can create more jobs. The state can’t increase overall employment by creating more government jobs than are necessary. Yes, it can hire more people, but that requires taking excess taxes from private employers that would have otherwise hired additional employees in a more efficient manner.

5. Would you vote for legislation reinstating the death penalty?

Collins: Yes. Certain crimes are so heinous that the ultimate penalty is appropriate.

6. Should the state make changes to its laws on marijuana?

Collins: No. Medical marijuana has been legalized and possession of small amounts has been de-criminalized. Addiction and deaths from drug overdoses have reached crisis levels. This is not the time for the government to send a message to our young people that it’s okay to do even more recreational drug use.

7. Should the state lower the tax rates on the casinos, do nothing or take some other step to provide relief?

Collins: What I support is allowing a business that employs thousands to keep some of what it earns. Excessive taxes are killing this industry, and in fact they are being robbed blind by state taxation polities. For example, in the first quarter of 2016, one of the casinos paid $15 million in state taxes, but ended up with a loss of $239,000. If they are forced out of business by excess state taxation, that would be an approximate loss to the state of $60 million per year, plus hundreds of employees would likely go on unemployment as a huge new cost to the citizens of Delaware.

8. What changes would you make to the Department of Education?

Collins: I would like to see it be less beholden to the federal government. Education should be a local issue controlled by local school boards. Furthermore, school testing should be reduced. It is currently taking up an absurd amount of what should be instructional time.

9. Does the state spend too much, too little or the right amount?

Collins: It’s almost impossible to know. Budget writers admitted just a few months ago that spending is not really analyzed to see if it is producing desired results. I believe the state is spending far too much, but the first critical step for a new administration should be to honestly study past spending patterns before making spending requests.

10. What should be done, if anything, to increase revenue for the state or cut spending?

Collins: The best long term solution is to help private business grow so that they and their employees will pay more taxes on the resulting profits and wages. This will require cutting taxes and regulations. In the meantime, we should be looking hard at Medicaid and reducing the number of state employees through retirement and attrition.

11. Do changes need to be made in the state’s employee health care structure?

Collins: Most likely. Equally important, however, would be for the state to make meaningful efforts to train employees on appropriate use of health insurance. For example, Americans take many times more prescription drugs than the citizens of any other nation, and millions are now addicted to opioids due to over-prescribing. This costs us both for the cost of the drugs and then the cost of treatment, not to mention the societal destruction of many families.

12. What should be done to impact the state’s heroin crisis?

Collins: Over 80 percent of heroin addiction starts out through legal but medically inappropriate prescriptions to opioids. We can’t solve this crisis without fixing that problem. Second, virtually nothing is now being done on drug education for our kids. It is far easier to prevent the problem before it starts than to fix it once addiction has set in.

13. How can the state best continue to fund road and bridge projects?

Collins: This is simple. Stop using money that is supposed to go into the Transportation Trust Fund from being used for the general fund. The state takes in far more money than it needs for highway construction and repairs but has robbed the trust fund of billions of dollars over the last 20 or so years.

14. Anything else?

Collins: In general, we need more private employers and employees, more entrepreneurship, less government spending, less regulation and less intrusion into our daily lives. I am dedicated to achieving these goals.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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