John Faso (Republican, Conservative)

By Ray Feliciano Click to go back to Spitzer, Faso, and McCourt Face Off for New York Governor - 2006

Each candidate was offered a total of 1500 words for all nine questions to be allocated at their discretion. Their contact information was not included towards that total.


1. Rising costs for education, heating, and auto fuel are straining the ability of middle class families to make ends meet, even if both spouses work. As Governor what, if anything, would you do to help working families that are struggling to get by?

The most important thing the state can do to help New York families is cut taxes. Over the course of this campaign, I have laid out specific plans to cut property, income and business taxes so it is easier for people to work, run a business and raise a family here in New York State.

Specifically, I have put forward a plan to cap school property taxes, relieve school districts and local governments of mandates that raise taxes, and consolidate non-instructional services like transportation and food service at the BOCES level to reduce costs.

John Faso
John Faso

I also recently announced an income tax reform plan that will cut state income taxes by 25 percent over four years. My plan benefits all New Yorkers, cutting taxes on lower incomes to help keep young people in New York, and eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends to spur investment in our state. Under my plan, married couples earning $50,000 or less and individuals earning $25,000 or less would not pay state income taxes.

Lastly, I have also proposed eliminating the estate tax and several business taxes to make New York a competitive place for companies to invest and create jobs.

2. Affordable healthcare is of particular concern for many New Yorkers, and many do not have any insurance coverage at all. As Governor, how would you address this issue?

By limiting the number of health insurance mandates on employers, we can cut insurance costs, expand availability, and target insurance services to consumer needs. I would also reform the state Insurance Law to permit Health Savings Accounts that allow consumers to pay for medical costs using pre-tax allowances.

We must also reform the Medicaid system. In September I announced a plan that will reduce the cost of the program by $13 billion while improving the quality of care. My plan conforms to three guiding principles: First, health care policy must be driven by patient needs. Second, the Medicaid program needs to reduce waste and improve patient care. Third, health care coverage should be affordable and available to the greatest extent possible.

Specifically, my plan targets an estimated $4.5 billion in fraud and abuse with new technologies and an aggressive Medicaid Inspector General. My plan also includes structural changes that ensure that Medicaid provider reimbursements are competitively priced, will expand the preferred drug list and use of generic drugs, and expand the use of community health centers.

We also need to focus on disease management and reduction of medical error by using electronic medical records. My plan also promote home care and other alternative care facilities that provide better services for the elderly at a reduced cost compared to traditional institutional care. We also need to close eligibility loopholes in long-term care, such as spousal refusal, and encourage partnerships with the state where both recipients and the state pay a portion of long-term care costs.

3. As Governor, would you seek to encourage the ‘Tech Valley’ initiative to make New York a magnet for high-tech jobs, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, environmental sciences, and alternative energies, and if so, what would you do to advance that initiative?

I will certainly continue to advance the Tech Valley initiative. I believe that while we must work to preserve our traditional manufacturing base, it is very important to make advances in new, high-tech industries.

The elimination of the tax on capital gains and dividends that I have proposed will spur more private-sector investment in New York State than ever before, including high-tech investment. I have also proposed eliminating or scaling back several other taxes that affect businesses. This includes eliminating the corporate franchise tax for manufacturers, reducing the top corporate rate from 7.5% to 6.5%, and gradually removing the $1.3 billion in hidden taxes that companies pay on health insurance.

I have also advanced several regulatory reforms that will reduce costs for business. This includes a comprehensive workers compensation reform plan, a renewed power plant siting law to reduce the cost of energy, and other reforms that will reduce the cost of liability and health insurance.

4.Do you agree or disagree with President Bush’s approach to education reform with No Child Left Behind, and where, if anywhere would you improve the program and our schools?

A major issue with the education system is that the needs of children are often secondary to the desires of school bureaucracies and unions. We spend more per pupil on education than any other state in the nation, yet we rank 26th in student achievement.

The problem with education funding is not how much money is spent, but how that money is spent.  We need more equity in formula distribution of education aid to high-needs districts, and reforms to ensure transparency and accountability.

Additionally, we can provide more competition in the education system by lifting the current cap on public charter schools. We also need to provide families with a real education tax credit that can be applied against educational materials such as computers, books and tuition.

Lastly, if we relieved school districts from costly Albany mandates, more tax dollars spent on education would actually be directed to the classroom.

5. What is your position regarding the balance of power between Federal law and State’s rights? For example, when the Federal government trumps the reserved rights of the State on laws such as legalizing medical marijuana, gay marriage, or euthanasia?

Many of these issues should be decided by state governments.

6. What are the challenges facing New York that are perhaps unique to the State, and how would you handle those challenges differently than your opponent?

The largest challenge facing New York is that the private-sector economy can no longer support the growing public sector bureaucracy. Taxes continue to increase and many people have decided to leave the state.

I have announced reforms to Medicaid, school property taxes and public pensions because I think the state government can be more efficient and responsive. As governor, I will root out fraud and abuse in government programs, and enact structural changes that will reduce costs while improving the efficiency and responsiveness of government programs. I have pledged to not increase state spending in my first budget.

Eliot Spitzer has made $70 billion worth of new spending promises to the special interest groups supporting his campaign and will have no option but to raise taxes to finance these promises.

7. In the name of National Security, is it reasonable for Americans to expect some of their civil liberties and Constitutional protections to be curtailed during this War on Terror? What can New York do to make itself safer?

First, as governor, I will fight for more federal funding. Funding decisions by the federal government with regards to homeland security need to be more reflective of the threat New York faces.

Law enforcement also needs to be given the tools they need to combat terrorism, including expanded training and technology for police and emergency responders, and allowing for profiling of likely terrorists. I support wiretapping and other federal programs that track terrorist communications and money sources. And, I would increase the number of terrorist analysts with greater emphasis on counter-terrorism instruction through Security Education Centers in the State University system.

We must also expand outreach to the Muslim community to gather information about terrorist plots and attempts to indoctrinate new members for terrorist causes. I would also enhance inter-state and federal coordination by establishing comprehensive lines of data sharing about who is moving within our borders.

The state's relationship with the private sector organizations that own, operate and protect 85 percent of the state's infrastructure should be strengthened to protect our roads and mass transit systems.

Lastly, we need to continue to implement strict drivers' license security measures, and ensure the immediate deportation of illegal aliens convicted of violent crimes, even if that means housing them in state correctional facilities until deportation.

8. What do you see as the greatest challenge facing New York, and what would you do about it?

Restoring the economy and making New York competitive in the new, global economy is our greatest challenge. To do this, we need to change the way we treat employers and taxpayers. Only after we reduce spending, cut taxes and change the regulatory environment will businesses and families be able to thrive in New York.

9. Why should the people of New York choose you for Governor over your opponent?

I have specific plans to cut taxes and improve the economy. They are all available for review by your readers at www.johnfaso.com.

In contrast, Mr. Spitzer has proposed $70 billion in new spending on government programs. There is only one way to raise that amount of money, with a tax increase. Additionally, Mr. Spitzer’s only plan to address New York’s high tax burden is a property tax scheme that will actually lead to tax increases.

John Faso
www.johnfaso.com
(518) 465-2006