Anthony "Tony G" Gentile

1.    What plans do you have keep our high school students from becoming drop outs and staying in school?

I will push to institute vocational training for all young men and young women that are not making the grade in highschool.  Give them an option that they can work out with their parents.  These people can be productive by learning a s skill while working on the basics needed in life to make a living.  This accomplishes two important key components.  Keeps kids in school while learning a trade to become responsible contributing adults in their communities.  Also giving Louisiana a crop of skilled workers every year to meet the demand.

2.    What are your views on hunter's rights and do you feel any changes need to be made to the state's current hunting laws?

I'll be honest I haven't hunted in over twenty-five years so I am not up to date on current laws.  I do believe that hunting is a great sport that teaches youngsters respect for firearms and gives them quality time with their parents.  I would not support any law that would hinder or restrict Louisianans from this enjoying the wildlife.

3.    One state employee says this is the first time in 16 years that Classified State Employees got a raise. She wants to know that since it is the norm for raises to go to faculty or higher education, what is the plan for raise incentives for Classified State Employees?

I don't make many promises on the campaign trail but I have committed myself to an increase of all state workers over the next four years of 16-20%.  I will institute a hiring freeze and we may start cross training on jobs to facilitate any openings due to attrition.  In return for this generous raise in pay although overdue I'll expect flawless performance in meeting the needs of the citizens.

4.    People and businesses across northwest Louisiana want to see Interstate 49 finished, yet only bits and pieces of it are being worked on. What are your plans for getting I-49 finished in northwest Louisiana and what is your timetable to get it done?

Earlier this week I committed to the completion of I-49 immediately to the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.  Not being a Civil Engineer or having a scope of the plan I would at least project a maximum of three years to complete.  It may take longer but I will make it a priority.  Shreveport is primed for expansion and we have to meet the needs by providing the infrastructure.

5.    State economists said this week the next governor could possibly see an extra one-billion dollars in reveune for next year. What would be your plans for the extra funding?

The completion of I-49 and intense inspection of our bridges and overpasses.  A good hard look at secondary roadways

6.    In the last session, the legislature made long-term commitments on short-term "one time" money.  If it becomes necessary, to either cut government spending or increases taxes... which would you do and why?

a.    If the answer to the above is "cut spending"-- in which departments and programs?

b.    If the answer to the above is "increase taxes," which ones?

i.    Property taxes

ii.   Sales taxes

iii.  Individual income taxes

iv.   Corporate income taxes

v.    Other corporate taxes

Fiscal responsibility.  We're going to hold the line.  We're going to meet the required needs of the state first.  Every attempt will be made to keep everybody whole.  We're going to trim the fat to the bone. I am looking hard at a state income tax change.  Basically a flat tax.  No filing, you pay the tax on payday. People who file quarterly will pay as usual.   I am committed to a slight change in the Homestead Exemption.  Right now many people in Louisiana are exempt from paying property tax.  I believe it's a great law however we all receive the same services.  I feel that imposing a $250 yr minimum on taxpayers is reasonable.  That's twenty dollars a month.  The investment will pay off for citizens.

7.    What about the Stelly tax... eliminate it, further modify it, or leave it as it is?

I touched on it above for personal income tax.  For businesses we need to adjust the rate.  If a flat tax is not palatable then we need to slide the scale back some.  Stelly pushed the burden of the taxes the upper income and businesses.  Not a good thing when we're trying to attract new business to Louisiana and make it affordable for the existing businesses. Good state tax systems levy low, flat rates on the broadest bases possible, and they treat all taxpayers the same. Variation in the tax treatment of different industries favors one economic activity or decision over another. The more riddled a tax system is with these politically motivated preferences the less likely it is that business decisions will be made in response to market forces

8.  Do you support the continued use of tax credits like the movie production credit? Are there any you would discontinue?

Absolutely, we need the business here and I would try to get a production company to base here in Louisiana.  Right now they make the money and take the royalties back to LA or New York.  Lets keep that money here and encourage them to invest in Louisiana.

9.    Do you believe that the teacher pay strategy should place more emphasis on teacher performance and student achievement, or on teacher seniority and degree level?

Teacher performance and student achievement.  To date I believe I am the only candidate that can aggressively address the ailing public school system in Louisiana with a low cost high impact plan.  My plan will increase student performance and set Louisiana up to be in the mid range (25-30 ranking) in four years.  This isn't rocket science and our children are just as smart as kids in other states.  We've made some advancements but we're still missing the mark.

10.  Do you think the state should continue to operate 10 charity hospitals? If so, should LSU maintain authority over them?

Yes, to both.  We have to become more efficient in spending state money. We need some clinics spread out over the state that people can utilize and catch sicknesses before they worse or even life threatening.  Being progressive this will need to be looked every year.  It may come to a point where consolidation may occur with private hospitals.  We will have first class healthcare for Louisianans.