Arthur D. "Jim" Nichols

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

I think the state issuer of drivers license could use license to drive as an incentive bonus award to entice students to study hard, pay attention, and behave in class, and make and maintain good grades in order to have the privilege to drive. I mentioned this idea to a State Representative a few years back and he said the insurance companies wouldn't go for it. However, I've noticed some are lowering their premiums to families with teen-age drivers to accomplish the same goal. I was hauling soybeans from Collinston to the silo in Mer Rouge in a 2 ½ ton truck when I was 14 years old. Responsible teenagers are safe drivers; and there is nothing a teenager wants more than a driver's license. This plan would work, it wouldn't cost us a dime, and actually the state will make a little money from the extra sale of license.

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

I was born in Louisiana 69 years ago. From as far back as I can remember we've been called Sportsman Paradise. I, myself and all of my friends, neighbors, relatives and acquaintances hunt and fish. Everything in life comes in too much, not enough, and just right. Too much is called abuse, just right is called use, and too much is called waste. So, as intelligent beings, our choices are use, abuse or waste. I think that not just hunting laws but in all laws we have too much.

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 this is the norm for raises to go to faculty or higher education, what is the plan for raise incentives for Classified State Employees?

I'm so thankful this lady brought this up. This is the biggest problem we have in our lives and no one's talking about it. Unfortunately when we raise pay, prices, or taxes our national currency, the U.S. Dollar, loses more of it's value. Since I graduated high school in 1956 the U.S. Dollar has lost 90% of its value.

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?

I'm very familiar with this story, when I ran for U.S. Senate in 1996, I spoke to a gentleman in Lafayette who said that if every politician who promised to fix Highway 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans had delivered on their promises we'd have a 12-lane highway between those cities. He also mentioned I-49. Projects like this are very expensive, and time consuming. However, with patience and determination they will be accomplished.

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

Latest census numbers us at 4.5 million people. According to my figures 1-billion dollars divided equally would be $222.30 per person. Although it seems like a lot, when spread that thin, it's not much. However, I would spend some of it on I-49.

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 increase 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

When elected I'll be an employee of The People of Louisiana. I really believe my employers would rather I eliminate waste in government spending than raise taxes. We already spend more than we can afford on 3 governments, Local, State, and Federal. Together they can't do the job that we formed government to do, which is to protect our rights, our privileges, our freedoms, our persons, and our property from all enemies foreign and Domestic.

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

I would strongly recommend that we leave Rep. Vic Stellys tax plan as it is.

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

I support continued use of tax credits. At this point in time I'm not aware of any I would want to discontinue.

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?

I believe teacher pay strategy should be based on teacher performance, student achievement, teacher security and degree level.

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

Not only do I think we need to continue to operate 10 charity hospitals, we should upgrade and improve them. I don't think that LSU should maintain authority over our charity hospitals. This should be done by a government agency. Since many of our citizens can't afford high priced insurance policies. We would truly be a cold and heartless people if we won't heal the sick and injured, simply because they can't afford the high price of modern medicine, especially the children.