HD-4: Democrat challenger would shore up tax structure

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Kwen Shirley

Age: 31

Party: Democrat

Family: I知 single with no children. I have my mother and father, and two younger brothers

Occupation: Supervisor at Starbucks on Center and Main in Kalispell

Background: In politics, I started working with candidate campaigns at 17. I was on a student council at Western Washington University. I have been involved in local non-party politics for several years, but this is my first time running for office. Outside of politics, I have been working in animal rescue since 2001. I worked at the Humane Society of Northwest Montana from 2014 to 2015.

Education: I got my BA at Western Washington University.

Q: A slate of budget cuts were made in 2017 to address a $227 million shortfall caused by less than anticipated revenue and an expensive fire season. What should the priorities be in the state budget in the next legislative session?

A: Priorities should be turned to finding ways within our current tax structure to shore up any shortfalls in income tax. There are several ways we could look at doing that, all of which would not place the burden on the individuals.

Q: Do you support a sales tax or other tax increases as a way to shore up the budget and increase revenue?

A: General sales taxes might help the state budget, but it値l hurt Montanans budgets. There are corporate tax incentives that are currently on the books that could be changed to help make up the difference, so that we would not have to raise income taxes for the individual or even small businesses.

Q: Montana痴 Medicaid expansion program is set to expire in 2019. Should the state renew this program?

A: Yes, the state should renew Medicaid expansion.

Q: Which other issues would you like to see addressed by the Legislature?

A: We need to take a hard look at why our fire seasons have been so bad. I have talked to several people who have dedicated their lives to studying forest management and fire management, and they all have very similar thoughts on how we can help reduce fires, make jobs and gain resources.

Q: Why are you the right choice to represent your district?

A: I live in this district. I care about the people of this district my neighbors. I want all of us to be able to make a living and feed our families, and I want us to continue to have access to public lands and to make sure those public lands are still the amazing wildernesses we have now. I知 progressive, but I have found that when you take labels off of people, I can have a conversation about what we need to do and where our state needs to go and 95 percent of the time, we all agree. Taking care of our kids, and making sure they have a future, is a top priority. I would love to go to Helena and work for my friends and neighbors here in the east side of the valley.

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