Clay Johnson: Why I’m Running for State Rep.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I have a simple wish. I would like my children, now 13 and 11, to have the opportunity to grow up, have wonderful careers, and raise families right here in Rhode Island. My name is Clay Johnson, and I am running for State Representative because the entrenched politicians are stealing your future. We are three years into an economic recovery, and Rhode Island is stuck in neutral. We are living with 11% unemployment, ranked last for business friendliness, and spending money so fast it would make a drunken sailor blush.
The typical post WWII recovery lasts 5 years. Can you imagine entering the next recession is less than 24 months with 11% unemployment? Is spending $209 million in borrowed money in the budget approved last month a responsible way to prepare? Here is the straight scoop. The situation is grim. We need to be concerned. You see, it can get worse.
Fixing this mess is in your hands. Rhode Island needs you to identify candidates that understand that prosperity is derived from unleashing the private sector. The United States of America is exceptional because it has attracted pioneers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers. Our political system, based on individual freedom and property rights created an ideal environment for free enterprise to flourish. Millions have been lifted out of poverty as a result. History has taught us all that the best welfare program is a good job.
Our elected officials need to understand that Smith Hill does not create jobs. The meddling and social engineering that takes place in those marbled halls has only succeeded in killing jobs, derailing the economy, and leaving Rhode Island taxpayers with the bills (think 38 Studios, Capco Steel, Alpha-Beta, DEPCO). Many of the regulations that businesses face are solutions in search of a problem. They add costs and suppress hiring. Some of the solutions are intended to solve problems that already occurred. These, one-off problems spawn solutions that haunt business in perpetuity. A great example of this is Rhode Island’s unique requirement for weekly paychecks. Relieving this burden would vastly simplify the payroll burden without impacting state revenues at all. Regulatory policy matters.
It is time for our elected officials to understand that business is their partner. In Rhode Island, this is especially true of small business. Jack Welch, ‘America’s CEO’, pulled General Electric out of Rhode Island 17 years ago “because of the crazy tax burden there.” The closed door meetings and midnight sessions serve only the entrenched politicians. They continue to play Robin Hood, stealing from hardworking Rhode Islanders only to give their lazy friends jobs. You know as well as I do that it is not government’s job to manage the economy. It is government’s job to ensure a civil society and get out of the way. Tax policy matters.
I am a small business owner in Rhode Island. I have been ‘in the soup’ for six years now. I have watched, and hoped that the professional politicians would get it right. They have not. So I offer my experience: URI graduate in Electrical Engineering, Masters in Business Administration, 36 years living in Rhode Island, 7 years working in fifteen other US states and 4 countries.
Here are my thoughts on fixing this mess. First, there needs to be a sustained effort to limit the concentration of power. If power were dilute enough, Rhode Island would not be susceptible to the perverse influence of corruption. Free enterprise requires fair and open government processes. Ultimately, enduring change will require term limits in our Rhode Island constitution. So I will call for a constitutional convention.
Second, the reforms that are taking place in our K-12 schools must continue, and we need to continue to make higher education accessible to our legal residents. Building a modern workforce is essential to support the new start-ups, grow existing businesses, and attract companies that seek to relocate.
Third, we need to reform the business climate. We need to encourage business expansion, not through tax credits (corporate welfare) but through smart tax and regulatory policy. For instance, we need to overhaul our unemployment system, consistently ranked worst in the country. We need to include sunset provisions on our laws to avoid the accumulation of outdated rules of government. We need to bring sanity to the budgeting process by spending less than we take in, and we need to hold state department managers accountable to their budgets and accountable for results.
My name is Clay Johnson, and I am a candidate for the General Assembly. I will not be creating and providing government jobs for my friends. I will work to create an environment of opportunity so that my children can find meaningful work in Rhode Island’s private sector. I expect more from my State Rep. Do you?
Clay Johnson is a candidate for State Rep. in District 39.
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