Utah House District 4 Mary DaSilva

— What position are you running for? —

— 1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? —

In 2019, I was a private citizen.  I learned of the Legislature’s attempt at Tax Reform through the media. I was dismayed to learn that the new budget was predicated on a higher food tax.  As lower income folks pay a much higher percentage of their income towards food, a tax on food means that they pay a higher rate of taxes than their wealthier neighbors. I know from my past work with food pantries and non-profit organizations that there is already substantial food insecurity in the working poor, even in the “booming economy” that was the basis for the budget. I immediately searched out a volunteer who could let me sign the repeal efforts for the 2019 Tax Referendum.

— 2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? —

A food tax  always  hurts the lower and lower middle wage earners the most.  The food tax is regressive in that lower wage earners must pay more of their budget towards food, and therefore pay a much higher percentage of their share of this tax.  Any tax on food will result in the poorer citizens to be able to buy less food, or less quality food.  With food insecurity already an issue during the pre-pandemic economy, it is much more of an issue now with widespread insecurity and higher unemployment rates.  Food should not be a source of tax revenue.

Gasoline taxes were mainly set to help build roads—and that was a good idea for many decades.  More recently fossil fuel burning automobiles (and trucks also) have improved the gas mileage and  money for roads (maintaining old ones and building new ones) is no longer sufficient to maintain and build highways. The people with non-fossil fuel (or hybrid) cars are getting a free ride (pun intended) and poor people with polluting cars are paying more taxes than rich people. We need to consider alternate ways to fund maintenance of our roads, such as a mileage meter and tax based on highway usage.

The burning of fossil fuels is directly related to climate change and air pollution which impacts the health of all Utahns. I would be willing to consider ways to decrease the use of polluting fossil fuels in Utah. But in the immediate future, a gas tax will hit the lower income brackets hardest.

— 3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? —

Our economy has been hit very hard with the pandemic and loss of jobs in 2020.  Small businesses are not in a position to pay new taxes on goods and services as they are trying to adapt to the new circumstances they find themselves in. We must help businesses in Utah to reopen responsibly and keep the employees that they have.  Rather than impose new taxes on working people and small businesses, we should consider having corporations based in Utah pay their fair share as well review loopholes in the tax laws.

— 4. Many Utahns felt that after the town halls and committee meetings that the legislative tax task force held throughout 2019 that their concerns were not heard and that special interests wielded too much influence. On the other hand, many legislators felt that the people didn’t understand the issue or the solutions that they put forth. If elected, how would you respond to the concerns and issues that your constituents bring to you and how would you educate them on the issues you are dealing with? —

I have pledged to take no Corporate PAC money, and will not receive any gifts or gratuities from corporations. When I was a City/County employee, we were prohibited from receiving any gifts in return for our civil service, and I would uphold this standard as an elected official.  I want the citizens to trust that I work for them, not special interests. I would welcome input from constituents.  I would hold town halls to hear from those I represent and I will read and respond to emails.

— 5. Are you willing to vote against bills that legislative leadership wants you to support even when threatened with losing coveted committee positions, having your legislation held hostage, etc? Explain —

I have no interest in going to the Legislature to play political games or make a fortune for myself.  My career as a Public Health Nurse has been one of service to the community. I have been an advocate for people without health insurance, for children, for pregnant women, for inmates, for teachers, for farmers, for police, for people who can’t speak English. I have been present in the homes of people when communicable disease sickens or kills a loved one, or even leaves a child disabled. I bring my life experience to this opportunity to serve in the State House. I will do what is right. I will follow my conscience, and that will be enough for me.

— 6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not? —

I am not in favor of an amendment that would divert money away from education. Utah is already last in the nation in spending per pupil. I would like to hear the views of educators and parents on this issue and work cooperatively to better serve the schools, including the needs of the disabled children that are referenced in this proposal.

— 7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. —

I was born and raised in House District 4. Logan has not been well served when the Legislature voted to overturn a popular voter approved initiative to expand Medicaid, and then decided to tax food. We as a community are in a predicament like none other with a pandemic and the highest unemployment rate in our lifetime.  I am a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in Communicable Disease Surveillance and Infection Prevention. I  know what it is to not be able to afford a copay or fill a prescription.  My career was to help schools and businesses that were affected by outbreaks of disease, and implement the recommendations of the health department. I want to help guide the Legislature to make good decisions, based in science and with the help of experts to get us through this uncertain time and become a healthy, thriving community again.  In April, the Legislature voted to spend $800,000 of our precious public health dollars to buy hydroxychloroquine, an unproven drug for Covid-19, from a private, for profit pharmacy in a no-bid contract.  This was only stopped when the medical community objected.  This is an example of a clear need to have someone with my background watching the store.

Please visit DaSilvaforUtah.org for more information.  I ask for your vote this November.

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