4 Issues: Candidate Peter Galbraith On Guns, Taxes, Marijuana And Health Care

Jun 20, 2016

Peter Galbraith, a Democratic candidate for governor, joined Vermont Edition on Monday for a one-on-one conversation. This interview is part of VPR’s "Meet the Candidates" series, where we will address a range of topics, but also want each participating candidate’s thoughts on four specific issues: gun control, taxes, marijuana legalization and health care.

Questions on these four topics were posed to Galbraith by host Jane Lindholm during the Vermont Edition interview on June 20. Below are the audio clips from the sections of Galbraith's interview that addressed these particular topics, as well as an excerpt quote from Galbraith's response. (You can find the full interview with Peter Galbraith here.)

Gun control

"I think we do [need more gun control legislation in Vermont]. I think there's no logic in having background checks and then allowing private sales to take place without background checks. Obviously if somebody isn't qualified to buy a gun through the background check system, they are going to do it privately and that defeats the whole point of the system. And the second thing that I am in favor of, and have called for, is a ban on military-style assault weapons ... They are not sporting weapons, they are not useful for self-defense. They are basically useful for killing large numbers of people and these are the weapons, particularly the AR-15, that [have] been used in one mass shooting after another in the United States."

Taxes

"I wouldn't be repealing taxes that are on the books – but the one thing I would do is to transfer some of the property tax to the income tax ... I represented Windham County in the Vermont Senate, and the tax that my constituents hated the most is the property tax, and I understand it. You've got to come up with a large amount of money, the ownership of your property is at risk – and so I think we ought to listen to Vermonters. We can lower the property taxes by transferring more of the burden of education to income tax, which is the case in most other states, and it's a more fair system. Those who are better off will pay more. That's the whole point of the income tax."

Marijuana legalization

"The reality is that Vermonters do use marijuana and so legalization is not about increasing the use of marijuana. It's about legalizing something that has already gone on, where prohibition has not worked, and so I am in favor of legalization.

"I think there are three main advantages to legalization. First is that it actually will be easier to keep marijuana away from young people. Young people today can find marijuana much more easily than they can obtain alcohol and that's because it's not regulated. Second, when you're buying marijuana on the black market, you don't know what it is you're buying. You don't know the purity of it. You don't know the the power of it. If it's sold through licensed outlets, there will be regulation and buyers will know – they'll get a safer product. And finally, it should be a source of revenue to the state. These transactions are going on and the state is getting no revenue at all. If it's legalized, there'll be more money into the coffers of the state for essential public services."

Health care

"I think we need to approach [the goal of universal publicly-financed health care] incrementally. I think there are three ways to do it. One would be to provide universal publicly-financed primary care. That would save primary care doctors a lot of time, so it would increase the amount of doctor time available. And it also would mean that Vermonters would get to see their doctor sooner and possibly head off more expensive procedures later.

"Another approach would be to put everybody 26 and under, under Dr. Dynasaur. I would say do it with no premiums and that would mean that people who were getting health care wouldn't have to get family plans. They could have single or couples plans. Or you could have a subsidized public option on the exchange. Each of those options would cost around $250 million to $300 million and they could be financed with a 2 percent payroll tax paid by the employer who would get the business deduction. So that is the start of a path forward and I think we should continue down that road."

Click each audio file to hear the candidate's full comments on these four topics. Listen to the entire interview on these and many other topics here.