2013 Candidate for
High taxes and corruption are strangling Pennsylvania’s economy, but Libertarian George Brown hopes to fix that in his campaign for an open seat as state representative in Pennsylvania’s 42nd district, against Republican and Democratic challengers.
Brown said that Pennsylvania’s lack of economic growth is a subject that hits home for taxpayers. “We have a roughly 8 percent unemployment rate in Pennsylvania right now,” he said. In order to revive slumping employment prospects, Brown proposes eliminating the corporate income tax along with other taxes and regulations that keep investment outside the state.
“We have the highest corporate income tax, I think in the country, at 10 percent,” Brown said. “We have something called a capital stock and franchise tax. Businesses are taxed on the value of their stock even if they don’t make any money. We have a limit on losses that you can carry forward, which prevents high-tech companies from locating here because they often lose a lot of money the first couple of years, until they get their idea into production.”
Problems like these call for a decisive solution, and Brown is ready to sponsor legislation that will slash the government taxes and policies that now stand in the way of economic growth. Bumping the corporate income tax down a few percentage points simply isn’t enough.
“Eliminate it altogether,” Brown said. “Take it down to zero. Right away — not phasing it out.” Brown would also eliminate other business taxes, including the capital stock and franchise tax.
His campaign has focused primarily on his district’s many independent voters, as well as those who have traditionally identified with another party but have become disgruntled with cronyism and corruption.
“We’ve got a lot of people, both Republicans and Democrats, who are dissatisfied with the current two-party duopoly that we have here,” Brown said. “Regardless of who’s in charge, taxes go up, roads don’t get fixed, you have the same problems. Pensions are out of hand, public-sector unions are in control.”
Brown wants to end the power that public-sector unions have over the state’s jobs and economic policy.
“They’re basically running the state,” Brown said. “And that means take away their collective bargaining rights.”
Brown’s campaign has raised about $5,000, he said, which gives him a significantly lower budget than either of the opponents he’ll face at the polls on May 21, Republican Dan Remely and Democrat Dan Miller. He’s used those funds carefully, though, with a team of volunteers going door to door, doing literature drops, and placing yard signs.
One reason Brown has targeted independent households is because Pennsylvania’s May primary elections are usually closed to independents. This special election for an open seat gives them a reason to pay attention — and that’s why Brown hopes his message of small government and greater economic prosperity will resonate with them.
Brown’s campaign has been covered by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. He also recently participated in a campaign forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters that swayed many attendees to his side.
“The people in the room, about 75 percent of them that I was able to speak to afterward, were impressed with the message and said they were going to vote for me, so I think the message resonated,” Brown said.