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Rep. Peter Johnson (R-Greenville)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 10/25/13

Moosehead Region Survey: Welfare Reform Number One Concern

Greenville State Rep. Pete Johnson releases results of constituent survey

AUGUSTA - State Representative Pete Johnson (R-Greenville) recently mailed questionnaires regarding state government to each household in his district, which stretches from Greenville on the eastern shore of Moosehead Lake, south to Cambridge, northeast to Sebec and Brownville, and encompasses the large northern forests of Northwest and Northeast Piscataquis Townships.

Rep. Johnson received 237 completed surveys back and says that the results show people in northern Maine are concerned about runaway state spending, a lax welfare system, and an anti-business sentiment in state government.

"Folks up here want more jobs, less government, and some much-needed accountability in our welfare system," said Johnson, who is serving his fourth and final term in the Maine House due to term limits. "For decades, liberal politicians in Augusta have increased taxes and run up debt in order to fuel state government's appetite for welfare spending and other government programs which have failed to meet their promised goals."

When asked to name the most critical issue concerning Maine citizens and presented with nine options, respondents chose, in order from first to last: welfare reform, reducing state spending, health insurance, business attraction, tax reform, transportation, education, energy costs, and "other."

To the question, "Do you think the state's budget problems are caused by too much spending or not enough revenue?" 84 percent of those surveyed believe state spending is the culprit, not a lack of tax revenue to the state. When asked about the Democratic proposal to expand Medicaid as a condition of paying off Maine's Medicaid debt to hospitals, 81 percent opposed Medicaid expansion.

"Governor LePage and Republicans made some really good progress when we held the majority in the legislature in 2011-2012 after decades of one-party Democratic rule," said Johnson. "We capped welfare benefits, increased penalties for fraud, reined in spending at DHHS, and cut taxes for working families. There's still a long way to go, however, and it's up to citizens to get involved and help press for more conservative reforms."

When asked about Right to Work legislation, which would prevent unions from forcing workers to pay dues if they don't want to join, an overwhelming 82 percent supported implementing it in Maine. Studies show that the 26 states with Right to Work laws in effect are seeing faster wage growth and more jobs. Republicans proposed the measure this year and last, but it was defeated by unanimous Democratic opposition both times.

Rep. Johnson's survey also showed that people in his district support allowing military recruiters to wear uniforms in high schools, the law allowing the consumer sale of fireworks, and allowing direct farmer-to-consumer sales for certain agricultural products.

Rep. Pete Johnson can be reached by e-mail at pete.johnson@legislature.maine.gov or at his home at (207) 695-2019.

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Maine House Republicans
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