Chojnacki for Assembly

Forward again in the 38th District

Q & A with Tom Chojnacki

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Q-and-AWhen do you start campaigning in earnest?

I’ve already started. I’ve knocked on somewhere in the neighborhood (no pun intended) of 1,000 doors.

How do you stand on Wisconsin accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid?

Economically, it makes sense to support the expansion of Medicaid, which I do.

The Colorado Hospital Association just published a study of 30 states. The study found that the 15 states that accepted the expansion saw a 34% drop in self-payer charges and a 32% drop in charity care cases at hospitals (which should reduce hospital costs). Wisconsin pays on average 79 to 99% higher premiums than Minnesota, which accepted Medicaid expansion.

If you had to choose between balancing the state budget and continuing to 100% funding for public sector pensions and health care, on which side would you come down?

That’s a false choice.

Lowering healthcare expenses in effect gives people more discretionary money, which stimulates the economy in a productive way. The Great Depression shows that the best way to stimulate the economy (as opposed to just stimulating the stock market) is to give middle and lower income people more discretionary money to spend. When people buy goods and services, more jobs are created and tax revenues increase.

Regarding public sector pensions, my wife Gloria has long said that she gets paid much more than the public sector people she works with and that they could earn more if they went into the private sector. But public workers gave up pay for benefits — so it all equals out in the end. Public sector benefits were a contract made with those workers that should be honored.

Walker used benefits to divide the state because he couldn’t use pay. (By the way, within the state Walker argued that he had to cut those benefits, but under oath at a Congressional hearing, he admitted that he did not have to.)

Should Wisconsin increase the minimum wage? If so, to what level?

If you look at the economics of raising the minimum wage, an increase to $10.10 in the fast food market, it would cause a $1.00 fast food meal to increase to $1.03. Not a big impact.

Since it would be spread over the whole economy, the negative impact would be negligible. But with more discretionary money for low wage earners to spend, it would have a positive impact on the economy. So as low as $10.10 is a no-brainer.

The state of Washington has raised its minimum wage to $15 with no ill effects.

Should Wisconsin accept some of the new “immigrants” crossing our southern borders?

I’m the grandson of immigrants – from Poland and Norway. I’ll leave it at that.

If elected, how would you propose to increase full time employment in Wisconsin?

1) Since Wisconsin manufacturers complain that they can’t find well-trained employees, I would return all the money that Walker took from education and increase the money to the tech schools. I would work to develop state-corporate partnerships to develop internships. An educated workforce increases productivity. Wisconsin companies are competing globally; we need workers who can compete at a world class level.

2) Recruiters that I’ve spoken to have said they can’t recruit high talent to Wisconsin because our mass transit is so poor. In fact as I discussed this with a young entrepreneur, who recently sold one of three businesses he started to Ford. He told me that 15 of his 17 employees take mass transit; they don’t want to drive to work. I would work to improve mass transit, which would also create construction jobs and other related jobs.

3) I would work to try to get the Federal money for high speed rail that Walker declined. Since Walker declined that money, a number of private organizations and companies, and cities in Wisconsin are trying to raise money to build a new rail line from Chicago to Madison to Minneapolis. Wisconsin is a net exporter of money to the Federal government, so accepting this money and developing our infrastructure is a two-fer

Wisconsin companies are competing globally, we need workers who can compete at a world class level.

How important to you is balancing the State budget?

Since the state constitution requires a balanced budget, there is no question it needs to be balanced.

Are you in favor of “Common Core”?

I see common core as bringing two benefits. 1) Students would be able to transfer schools without missing parts of their education and 2) it will hold administrators more accountable for what is being taught in schools.

Who do you support in Wisconsin’s governor race?

Here are my choices

A governor who

  1. Has six of his former aids in jail (you’d think it was Tammany Hall);
  2.  Has been a career politician with his only “real life” experience being four years doing fundraising and marketing for the Red Cross;
  3. Presented an economic plan for the state that was four pages long, two pages if you take out all the pictures of him. (Under Walker’s plan, Wisconsin has dropped 44th in economic performance);
  4.  Established the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) with no accountability. WEDC has awarded tax breaks to companies after they moved jobs out of state, but have been Walker campaign donors;
  5. Has extracted political retribution on Milwaukee’s County Board because they prevented him as County Executive. from driving Milwaukee county into a bigger rat hole than he did;
  6. Has only divided the state that was united before he got into office (both sides of the aisle used to work together before he became governor);

Or a candidate who

  1.  has worked in the private sector with a lot of leadership experience,
  2. is not a career politician with an eye on the presidency,
  3. has worked to improve local communities,
  4. has a REAL economic plan, not one based upon ideology.

I’d say the choice is pretty straightforward – Mary Burke.

 

 

Authorized and paid for by Chojnacki for Assembly, Gloria Chojnacki, Treasurer © 2014
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