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Denise Provost's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: State House (MA) - Twenty-Seventh Middlesex, Democratic
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Denise Provost submitted the 2016 Political Courage Test after the official deadline and release of results to the media.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Massachusetts State Legislative Election 2016 Political Courage Test

Pro-choicea) Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Yesb) Should abortions be illegal after the first trimester of pregnancy?
Yesc) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesd) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Noe) Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Nof) Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Nog) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for abortion procedures?
Noh) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for organizations that perform abortions?
i) Other or expanded principles:
1) Budget Stabilization:
Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Massachusetts's budget.
Noa) Tapping into Massachusetts's "rainy day" fund
Nob) Decreasing funding for public universities
Noc) Reducing state employee salaries AND/OR pensions
Nod) Instituting mandatory furloughs AND/OR layoffs for state employees
Noe) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients
f) Other or expanded principles:

Occasional transfers from the "rainy day" fund may be justified, but won't cure our structural problems with revenue. Our flat state income tax rate is a problem, as have been the automatic income tax rate reductions which have kicked in January 1 of most recent years, as we've recovered from the 2008 recession, resulting in a cumulative annual cut of close to $1 billion in revenue. I support the proposed Fair Share amendment, to address the former, and a freeze on automatic rate reductions to address the latter.

2) State Spending:
Indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.
Greatly Increasea) Education (higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Greatly Increasec) Environment
Maintain Statusd) Health care
Maintain Statuse) Law enforcement/corrections
Greatly Increasef) Transportation/infrastructure
g) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories:

Some of these categories are significantly underfunded, including Early Childhood (pre-K) education and care, which is not even listed. In other cases, there are problems of maldistribution (eg, K-12 education). Health Care has problems of system design, and an unwillingness to deal with disparate reimbursement rates. If by "welfare," you mean cash assistance, that is a trivial ( by percentage) budgetary item which should be determined by need, not some abstract belief. If you mean the wider benefit system, including housing/shelter, that is a whole other discussion.

3) State Taxes:
Indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.
Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Cigarette taxes
c) Corporate taxes
d) Small business taxes
Slightly Increasee) Gas/Oil taxes
f) Property taxes
Slightly Decreaseg) Sales taxes
Greatly Decreaseh) Income taxes (low-income families)
Slightly Decreasei) Income taxes (mid-income families)
Slightly Increasej) Income taxes (high-income families)
Yesk) Do you support applying sales taxes to all online purchases?
l) Other or expanded principles:

Property taxes are set locally. "Corporate" taxes vary - I would reverse the tax break given banks. Some "small businesses" are corporations. Personal income taxes in MA are set at a flat rate, which is horribly regressive; I support the Fair Share amendment to even it its effect. The sales tax is also regressive; if we didn't lose so much on taxes uncollected from internet sales, we could probably return it to its former 5% rate. I'd like to see small regular increases in the gas tax, devoted to improving transportation infrastructure.

a) Do you support limits on the following types of contributions for state candidates?
Yes1) Individual
Yes2) Political Action Committee
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Party
Yesb) Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
Yesc) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yesd) Do you support the use of an independent AND/OR bipartisan commission for redistricting?
Noe) Do you support requiring a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at the polls?
f) Other or expanded principles:
Noa) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yesb) Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
Yesc) Do you support legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana?
Nod) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
Noe) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
Yesf) Do you support delaying the seizure of assets by law enforcement officials until after a conviction?
g) Do you support additional funding for programs intended to reduce drug addiction in Massachusetts?
h) Other or expanded principles:

Programs "intended to reduce drug addiction" should be funded based on evidence-based results, not intentions alone.

Yesa) Do you support government spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Nob) Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
c) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Yesd) Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers?
e) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
f) Do you support requiring welfare applicants to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits?
g) Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation?
h) Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure?
Yesi) Do you support an increase of the minimum wage?
j) Should employers be able to ask about applicants' criminal history before interviewing them?
k) Other or expanded principles:

Most of these questions require a qualified answer, like "up to a point" or "depends on the program design." Even as to question a, I'd say I support government spending on needed infrastructure as a way to promote economic growth - but not spending on handouts or tax breaks to big corporations,.

Noa) Do you support the national Common Core State Standards initiative?
Nob) Do you support a merit pay system for teachers?
c) Is the tenure process for public school teachers producing effective teachers?
Nod) Should parents be allowed to use vouchers to send their children to any school?
e) Do you support state funding for charter schools?
Yesf) Do you support the state government providing college students with financial aid?
Yesg) Should illegal immigrants who graduate from Massachusetts high schools be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities?
h) Other or expanded principles:

MA has the most divisive possible system for funding charter schools; state funding would probably be more fair - assuming that school funding was adequate and fairly distributed, which it is not. How would "merit pay" be measured? If based on standardized test scores, then it's a ridiculous suggestion.

Yesa) Do you support state funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
Nob) Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)?
c) Do you support state funding for improvements to Massachusetts's energy infrastructure?
Yesd) Do you support state funding for open space preservation?
Yese) Do you support government regulations of greenhouse gas emissions?
Yesf) Do you support increased regulations of the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") industry?
g) Other or expanded principles:

c) maybe - depends on the improvements - might be better than relying on the utilities. Either way, we pay as taxpayers, or as utility customers.

Yesa) Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
Yesb) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
Noc) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
Yesd) Should a license be required for gun possession?
e) Other or expanded principles:
Yesa) Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option?
b) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
Yesc) Do you support interstate health insurance compacts?
Yesd) Do you support Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
Noe) Do you support requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance?
f) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Yesg) Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes?
h) Other or expanded principles:

b) what does this mean? I doubt it could work.

Yesa) Do you support same-sex marriage?
Yesb) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Massachusetts's anti-discrimination laws?
Yesc) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Massachusetts's anti-discrimination laws?
d) Other or expanded principles:
In the following area, please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

My top priorities are sufficient revenues, fairly assessed, for core government functions, such as education and transportation; mitigating the damage from climate change through serious cuts to carbon emissions, and adaptive planning against the threats of sea level rise, storm surge, flooding, drought, etc.; and creating/maintaining a just society in which the rights of individuals are protected, and a safety net maintained for those in need.

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