134th House Race: Reynard Comes Out Swinging
John Reynard, Democratic candidate for the 134th House seat, blasted GOP opponent Rep. Ryan Mackenzie before he detailed his platform at a CEPTA-sponsored forum.
Democrat John Reynard came out swinging at Tuesday night’s CEPTA-sponsored Candidates Night, although his Republican opponent in the race for the 134th District State House seat, Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, wasn’t even there.
“What is the difference between me and Ryan?” he asked the approximately 20 people who came out in the rain for the program at Fire Co. #1 in Emmaus. “Ryan has done two things in his life -- gone to Harvard and worked in politics. He’s never owned a home, never paid property taxes, and as far as I know, he’s never had a girlfriend.
“He’s never loved anything other than money and his own self-advancement,” Reyard said.
From there, Reynard, a self-described businessman, went on to discuss his own business background and how he would use his real-world experience to the benefit of the Pennsylvania taxpayer.
Here are some of the specific issues he said he would address if elected:
* Stop the brain-drain
Reynard proposed a two-prong attack. First, he advocates state-funded grants for the top 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s graduating high school students who decide to attend a college or university in the state.
Dovetailing with that, Reynard also spoke of a program that would enable the top 2 percent of those graduating from Pennsylvania’s colleges to compete for some sort of entrepreneurial grant through the Small Business Development Centers in the state. Too many top students are leaving Pennsylvania for jobs in big cities like New York, Boston and Washington, D.C, he said, because the jobs they are looking for can’t be found in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
* Lower the State Sales Tax
Reynard said he would drop the state sales tax to 4.2 percent because lowering the sales tax is the best way to kick-start the economy.
Reynard said he would focus on lowering the sales tax rather than lowering the income tax because “cutting income tax doesn’t cause growth since income tax has nothing to do with the cycle of commerce; it has to do with the cycle of investment.”
Reynard termed the boost to the economy triggered by a drop in sales tax a “self-feeding cycle,” describing the chain of events that would happen with the 1.8 percent of sales tax not going to Harrisburg. Consumers would spend more money on goods, he said, and the stores would make more money as a result. As stores reap the rewards of increased spending, they would hire more people, who would in turn spend more money in the state.
Reynard said he came up with the 4.2 percent sales tax rate through studies he had done while an economics professor at Lehigh University.
* Make Legislative Pay Merit-Based
Reynard said the first measure he would sponsor if elected would be a “Legislative Accountability Bill” in which legislative pay would be lowered by 25 percent. Then, based on performance in five categories, such as improving the state educational system or implementing tax reductions, those legislators could earn that 25 percent back in 5 percent increments.
Pennsylvania has the second-largest and second-highest-paid legislature in the country, trailing California in both categories, Reynard said.
“I will take a 25 percent pay cut, and send a check to the state of Pennsylvania [in that amount] every year that I am in office until my bill is enacted into law,” he said. “Unless we can get regular citizens like yourself angry enough at them so they will have to do it, it’s not going to happen.”