Republican state Rep. Jim Butler is facing a challenge from Dayton School Board Member John McManus, a Democrat, in this fall’s election for the 41st District state House seat.
Both candidates share a commitment to bringing more jobs to Ohio, boosting the economy and doing more to improve the health care system, but they differ on how to do it.
The district includes Kettering, Oakwood and parts of Centerville, Dayton and Riverside.
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Butler, a former pharmaceutical sales rep, believes the biggest threat to Ohio’s economy is the high cost of health care.
“Too many of the organizations that are part of our health care system are putting profit over caring for people,” he said in the Dayton Daily News 2018 Voter Guide.
Butler believes that patients are being left in the dark and that organizations that are part of the health care system are putting profit above caring for people. He is the author of the Healthcare Price Transparency Law, which requires all patients scheduled for non-emergency health care services to get a good faith estimate of the anticipated costs upfront, without having to request it. Butler has filed a motion to defend this law in court and states that he will continue to fight for the rights of patients.
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Butler is currently a business litigation attorney for Thompson Hine, LLP. He is also a former officer/aviator for the United States Navy.
McManus believes that there are many pressing issues that Ohio faces and says the biggest is that middle class Ohioans are no longer front and center. He suggests improving the health care system by continuing to expand Medicaid. McManus says that restrictions to Medicaid stunt growth and that the state should do the opposite.
“We should be thinking about improvements that build up better services and efficiencies,” he said in the Dayton Daily News Voter Guide. “The Medicaid program has saved taxpayers money, ensures more access and assists people to get off government aid.”
Bringing jobs to Ohio
Butler proposes a tax cut that directly incentivizes businesses to keep their money in their businesses.
“We should lower taxes on exactly what we want to encourage - business activity in Ohio,” he said. “Our state and country need leaders who are in office to genuinely serve the people. We need leaders who put the people’s interests over those who give political donations.”
Butler would like to lower and eliminate the Commercial Activity Tax, lower and eliminate taxes on earnings that Ohio small businesses so they can reinvest in their business. He also wants to lower taxes for investments made in Ohio businesses. With this Butler believes there will be more state revenue and a greater ability to eventually eliminate income taxes.
McManus would like to create opportunities for new kinds of economic markets, such as sustainable energy. He says sustainable energy technologies are performing better in the market than fossil fuels and save consumers thousands of dollars annually on their energy costs. McManus believes building this kind of infrastructure would create jobs and a restore economic security for Ohio, particularly the middle class.
McManus is vice president and board member on the Dayton Board of Education. He is also the deputy clerk of court, Franklin County Municipal Court. He is also an adjunct instructor of political science at Sinclair Community College.
“I grew up learning to put country before party. I have the experience, and the know-how, and the passion to work for the voters of this district,” McManus said. “I will always put the voters, before party or politics. I pledge to be your ear at home.”
Here’s a look at some of the candidates’ answers in our online voters guide:
21 states have passed minimum wage increases since 2014. What do you think the minimum wage should be in Ohio?
Butler: Ohio has a minimum wage law passed by the voters of our state that I believe provides a good system. Unlike the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25, Ohio's minimum wage is adjusted every year to account for inflation. Accordingly, at the beginning of 2018, Ohio's minimum wage increased from $8.15 to $8.30.
At the end of this year, Ohio’s minimum wage will likely rise again. When the minimum wage increases, wages that are slightly above to a few dollars above , minimum wage also typically increase.
This puts pressure on businesses that are competing with foreign business who are not paying anywhere close to the wages we pay. This is why fair trade agreements are so important and why we should strive to work together to ensure our Ohio businesses, primarily in manufacturing, have the lowest expenses in other areas, such as healthcare and taxes.
McManus: It is an outrage that hard working Ohioans are struggling to meet their basic needs because wages simply do not reflect increased costs of living and worker productivity. Wages for the average American have been stagnant or falling for over a generation now.
When adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage, when it was established in 1968, would be $11.64 in 2018 dollars. If that number were adjusted for increased worker productivity that number would be $21.72. The current minimum wage in Ohio is $8.30; however, to afford rent on a 2 bedroom home that does not exceed 30 percent of your income requires $15.
Raising the minimum wage to a living wage helps everyday Ohioans lead more full, dignified lives, and helps Ohio taxpayers by reducing the number of people dependent on public assistance. Across the country, state and local governments that have raised their minimum wage to a living wage have seen dramatic boosts to their economies by increasing consumer buying power. When in office, I will propose legislation that will increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour with annual increases over a 5 year period to reach $15.
Given recent school shootings, what do you think Ohio can do to make schools safer?
Butler: Three areas can and have been improved in Ohio to protect our children and keep them safe in our schools. First, funding and training for school resource officers (normally off-duty police officers) has been increased. Increased physical security is important and I supported legislation to increase funding for local schools to strengthen many areas of security, from buzz-in doors, cameras, or metal detectors to online monitoring of social media.
I also voted for increased funding to schools for mental health counseling and programming. I additionally support strict penalties on criminals who utilize firearms or any other deadly weapon in the commission of violent criminal acts. Accordingly, as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I supported a bill championed by law enforcement and Attorney General Mike DeWine that imposed much stronger penalties for criminals who repeatedly commit serious crimes, including raising penalties for crimes committed with deadly weapons.
McManus: I used to teach in a high school, and I recall driving to school the morning after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. As I parked my car before walking in, I thought "What if a tragedy happens here? What if it happens while I'm teaching class? What will I do to keep my students safe?"
I will never forget how I felt in that moment. Students should feel safe in school, and government owes a responsibility to its most vulnerable citizens to provide an environment that is safe in the schoolhouse. School districts must invest in programs that address the social, emotional, and mental health of students.
Teachers should be trained to spot certain troubling behavioral indicators, and the school districts should write into policy what the procedure is when a child exhibits these indicators. Prevention through treatment and counseling is a worthwhile investment. Furthermore, school districts should design, implement, and practice active shooter plans, and do so in tandem with local law enforcement.
Finally, school districts should be encouraged to invest in safety hardware such as camera systems, door jam devices, digital alert systems, audible alarm systems, and other lockdown devices.
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