LANESBOROUGH >> As your next state senator, I am about business, education, jobs, health care, and growing this economy. Hands down, any opponent from the party who wins Sept. 8 cannot touch my credentials, expertise, education or work experience.

As I am a straight shooter, we need to have a rich and deep discussion about our economy. We need stimulus to attract work and jobs, and this is my goal. Together we will be proactive in repurposing and remarketing our infrastructure.

In conjunction with an economist, I derived a 15-point action plan to stimulate tax dollars back into our area with long-term, sustainable goals that will attract professional, mid-level, skilled and unskilled employment. Our plan has depth. We are Tax-achusetts, but we don't have to be. Our tax system is actually crippling our economy.

Local Democrat legislators have been so good at creating "benefits" that people from other states come over the borders to take advantage of our wonderful packages. Our elderly, veterans, and others have trouble getting affordable health care, but an illegal immigrant in Massachusetts has an avenue of protection. That is absurd, and I have a laundry list of changes to benefit taxpayers ready to put into action.

Those who pay into our tax system are taxed to the fullest. Those who pay in the bare minimum are rewarded with $5,000 back from the commonwealth. We've lost common sense. We are led by people who don't have real plans for our area. Every day, under the current leadership, it feels like a Band-aid being plastered on a gushing wound.


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Change needs to start with me and you. Easily and effortlessly, you can vote me into office. I will fix this mess. I understand that those benefits are supposed to help people during a difficult period. They were never meant to supplant working. Our "Tax-achusetts" system should be offering a hand up and not a hand out.

Taxes are too numerous and are too high. Taxes penalize and decentivize the critical economic activity that can make Massachusetts viable and competitive again. To keep critical services funded and ease tax burdens on the citizens of Massachusetts the primary goal must be to eliminate unnecessary taxes that penalize select individuals and groups. I firmly believe that the key to reviving the state economy is to introduce the concept of tax competition within the state.

Similar to competition in the marketplace for goods and services, tax competition incentivizes the individual municipalities to keep the tax burdens low lest they lose businesses and residents. Local options to tax certain things must be preserved, but many statewide taxes must be eliminated.

This means revising the "personal income" and "fiduciary income tax," specifically net capital gains, dividends and interest. The federal government already taxes corporate incomes, and then it taxes the dividends and the capital gains on the shares of stock.

By engaging in triple taxation (the federal government taxation of dividends and capital gains being held as the second layer) of these assets, the state is crippling itself in a race against states that do not impose such measures. The punitive measures on the needed capital to get the economy moving again must end.

Another scenario that falls clearly under those constraints is our current resident and non-resident estate tax. To attract and maintain long-term residents, we must not penalize the life's work of productive citizens. A third party, in this case Massachusetts, should not be heir to the fortunes of those who work for their family's well-being and future. As the tax stands, it is one more reason to move out of the state during your golden years.

For our working poor who have nothing left to give "Tax-achusetts," we need to revisit taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. If the disaster of the National Prohibition Act taught us anything, it is that people are going to drink regardless of what the law says. The idea of using excise taxes to dissuade consumption of alcohol is the modern descendent of the XVIII Amendment. All this adds to the lives of citizens is higher prices and more complications for the producers and sellers.

The key to dissuasion to drink is to educate people on the dangers of intoxication and enforcing personal responsibility by punishing those who are intoxicated, not higher prices and red tape. Taxes on cigarettes tend to incentivize crime. Butt-legging is a practice where a person will go to a state with lower taxes on cigarettes (like New Hampshire) and buy cartons there, transport them back to Massachusetts and either sell them illegally on their own.

Your vote is your voice. Elect me, the proven voice of change. With your vote I will become the next state senator from Western Massachusetts.

Christine Canning is a Republican candidate for state senator.