Nor are they complete. I'm still working on energy policy and some other key issues like what to do with our horrible social services bureaucracy or--better yet--DELDOT.
Here's the deal: they are intended to be pragmatic suggestions for moving forward on existing state problems consistent with the general Libertarian principles of more personal freedom and greater governmental accountability (while always thinking about how large the government really needs to be). Some of them will be less daring than many of my Libertarian friends would like--I don't make apologies for that; we have to start where we are.
In the whole, this is offered to readers like Tyler Nixon, kavips, Shirley, Liberalgeek, or Tom to start a genuine conversation.
Open Government: Because we pay for it, and we have to live with its decisions, I support:• Ending the Desk-drawer Veto that only enhances the ability of careerists to keep broadly supported legislative reforms from ever reaching the floor.
• Establishing Transparency Rules that require our legislators to reveal when they, their family members, or their businesses and employers stand to benefit from the votes they cast.
• Requiring School Districts to place their check-books online, so that the parents and property owners who pay for our children’s education can make sure the money for public education actually makes it into the classroom.
• Enacting a Constitutional Amendment that authorizes Initiative, Referendum, and Recall, so that Delaware’s citizens can take a direct hand in crafting the laws and regulations that govern their lives.
Public Education: Because we cannot afford to handicap our children with a public education system that costs too much while not producing excellence, I support:• Implementing the key cost-saving provisions of the LEAD Report with respect to transportation, energy, construction, purchasing, and prevailing wage requirements, which will simultaneously save Delaware taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and generate the funding for real improvements in our schools.
• Replacing the high-cost, high-stakes Delaware Student Testing Program with a more affordable and accountable state-wide assessment that actually takes into account student performance in our classrooms.
• Modifying the costly and complicated SEED program into a merit-based State income-tax credit to support high-achieving Delaware graduates attending any college or university of their choice.
• Developing a state-wide incentive system to encourage the best teachers to come to Delaware, stay in Delaware, and actively pursue continuing education and professional development.
• Allowing funding equity for all charter schools with an open enrollment policy that can demonstrate that they serve minority, disadvantaged, and special needs populations to the same extent that traditional schools within the same geographic district do. Allow two or more charter schools to “pool” their populations to meet this requirement.
Government spending: Because Delaware can’t afford a State government running $200 million deficits or “forgetting” that it was owed a $67 million tax payment, I support:• Transitioning from expensive, proprietary computer software for routine government uses to virtually free “open source” programs, saving all of us millions each year. [Stolen from Dana Garrett; who says progressives and libertarians don't share some of the same objectives?]
• Empowering the Governor of Delaware with a line-item veto to cut wasteful State spending when the legislature won’t do its job.
• Requiring the annual State budget highlights to be formatted each year in a manner that clearly reports the cost and number of new Government positions authorized.
• Encouraging as many State offices as possible to adopt a four-day workweek to save energy and reduce transportation costs.
• Implementing the State Auditor’s May 2008 recommendations that would immediately save taxpayers $21 million without sacrificing government services.
Taxation and regulation: Because taxes are “the power to destroy” and excessive regulation erodes our freedom, I support:• Instituting a series of tax credits for the working poor so they can keep more of what they earn to help defray rising medical, educational, and transportation expenses.
• Passing “Plain English” legislation that allows citizens and small business owners to challenge overly complicated bureaucratic regulations.
• Establishing a Deficit Reduction Priorities List at the beginning of each fiscal year that clearly indicates the order in which State agencies and services will be reduced in the event of a budget shortfall.
• Requiring that all environmental, health/safety, and equal opportunity regulations placed on citizens and small businesses be enforced on all State government agencies, including the General Assembly.
Privacy and Property: Because it isn’t really yours if the government can take it away from you anytime it pleases, I support:• Reviving Senate Bill 245 to protect property owners from the bureaucrats and politicians who think they should be able to seize what’s yours in order to make a few bucks for their favorite constituents.
• Passing legislation to guarantee patients the right to declare any person of their choice as advocate and decision-maker should they become incapacitated.
• Keeping the government out of your personal relationships by defeating small-minded attempts to use a Constitutional amendment to prohibit civil unions in Delaware.
• Balancing the economic prosperity brought by new development against the strain on our infrastructure by utilizing common-sense impact fees to help fund new schools, sewers, and roads.
• Decriminalizing the possession or use of small amounts of marijuana.
Health Care: Because Delaware citizens can’t move confidently toward a 21st-Century economy if they spend too much time worried about what it costs to see a doctor, I support:• Locating and signing up the 27,000 Delawareans who qualify for Medicaid, but who haven’t yet stepped forward to receive coverage. [I may think there are better alternatives, but in the short run there is no excuse for the government not to keep its promises.
• Relaxing overly strict licensing requirements to allow experimentation with innovations in health care like retail clinics and internet pharmacies.
• Legalizing medical marijuana so that patients with chronic, intractable pain have access to a full range of pain management options.
• Examining the precarious financial situation of Delaware’s hospitals in order to develop strategies to keep them solvent in a fiscally responsible manner.
And no, I'm not running for any office.
Update: I forgot to include that I favor an immediate moratorium on executions in the State of Delaware and the eventual repeal of the death penalty.