The Republican gimmick this year is to pledge. The trick is to be as general and as apple pie ("honor our veterans") as possible, particularly in areas where specifics could be difficult. Republicans all oppose Obamacare, for example. Coverage for pre-existing conditions? More money for old folks in nursing homes? The end of insurance caps? Broader coverage for all? Details. Details. Not now, please.
In furtherance of his nationalized campaign for governor against Barack Obama, Republican Jim Keet offers the following pledge.
PLEDGE TO ARKANSAS
The Jim Keet Agenda, 10 for 2010
1. Job creation
I will work with the appropriate agencies to create America’s most business friendly environment so that the private sector can thrive and hire hard working Arkansans. (We are currently ranked 39th by the Chamber of Commerce.) Reducing the amount of burdensome regulations is a key component of becoming more business friendly.
2. Tax Reform
Tax reform is needed to help promote economic vitality. I will stop the flight of businesses to other states by responsibly cutting the capital gains taxes, corporate taxes, and making the personal income tax structure fairer overtime. (We are currently ranked 40th in business taxes by The Tax Foundation.)
3. Fight Obamacare
Once elected, I will push the Attorney General to join the lawsuit against Obamacare that 20 states and the NFIB have filed. In addition to the 10th Amendment questions, Obamacare is costing jobs at a time our unemployment rate is near a three decade high.
4. Immigration policy
I will introduce a comprehensive immigration policy that addresses our unique situation and problems.
5. Stop the growth of government
On day one I will take a census of state employees and we will not have one additional state employee 4 years from now. We have thousands of great state employees, but we must eliminate waste and stop the growth of government.
6. Reduce wasteful government spending
I will lead by example by cutting 20% out of the governor’s office budget and my personal salary. The $5.2 million state plane will be sold and a plane will be leased when appropriate. I will also eliminate unnecessary state vehicles and stop their inappropriate personal use at the taxpayer’s expense.
7. Education reform
Education reform is needed in Arkansas. I have talked with educators in each corner of the state. They tell me that we must return to the basics such as restoring discipline in the classroom and reducing the administrative burden put on teachers so they can focus on the students, while still ensuring accountability. I believe aggressively pursuing participation in programs like Race to the Top needs to be a priority. I will examine initiatives which are working in other states and implement where appropriate.
8. Honor our veterans
Our veterans deserve our thanks and eternal gratitude. I will work with the legislature to exempt military retirement and combat pay from state income taxes.
9. Ethics reform
In June I introduced a six point ethics reform proposal that included lobbyist reform, no receipt-no reimbursement policy for legislators and constitutional officers, and stopping the abuse of the retirement system. These reforms are needed to restore Arkansans faith in state government and I will work closely with the legislature to implement real ethics reform.
10. Fight federal mandates that are harmful to Arkansas
I will work to oppose the federal unfunded mandates imposed on Arkansas that we cannot afford. The chief executive of the state has an obligation to its citizens to oppose mandates harmful to their state, especially those which are constitutionally suspect.