Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peace Action MoCo Candidate Questionnaire

Question 5 is likely the most provocative (the rest are after the jump):

5. In the past, the Maryland state legislature has exercised its power to order the state’s pension system to divest its holdings in companies that are complicit in illegal activities in other countries. The World Court has ruled that Israel’s separation wall and settlements in the West Bank are illegal. Would you support a similar divestment bill targeting companies that knowingly participate in these illegal activities in Israel?

1. U.S. military spending accounts for 58 percent of U.S. discretionary spending and exceeds the combined total of the next 14 highest spending countries. At the same time, our gross federal debt now tops $13 trillion, or 90 percent of GDP. Cuts in military expenditures would allow the federal government to increase much needed support for state and local governments and/or reduce the debt burden on future generations. Would you support a resolution to Congress and the president to significantly reduce the military budget and distribute the savings to state and local governments?

2. The Maryland National Guard serves a vital role in responding to domestic emergencies, either natural or manmade, and its deployment overseas necessarily reduces its home-front capacity. Legislation has been introduced in the past two legislative sessions to require the governor to request the return of Guard members from overseas if they are not deployed pursuant to a valid, unexpired authorization for the use of military force. Would you support this or similar legislation in the coming session?

3. In 2010, the Maryland General Assembly enacted H.B.855, which eliminated sales and use taxes for the lodging of staff, contractors, vendors, and other invitees in certain corporate training facilities. In fact, this corporate tax break applies only to a permanent training facility for Lockheed Martin, a company that in 2009 reported revenue of $45.2 billion and, according to Forbes, paid its CEO more than $42 million. The tax break reduces Maryland revenue by $370,900 a year, at a time when 19,000 developmentally disabled Marylanders are on a waiting list for services and the county education budget has been cut by $97 million. Would you support rescinding H.B.855?

4. The advantage enjoyed by wealthy corporations in supporting candidates who further their bottom line was given an extra boost by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission ruling that corporations have a First Amendment right to fund political speech in candidate elections. Subsequently, H.J.Res.74, proposing an amendment to the Constitution that would permit Congress and the States to regulate corporation spending on political speech, was introduced into the U.S. Congress. Do you support H.J.Res.74?