Candidate Survey - 2015


THIS QUESTIONAIRE REQUESTS YOUR POSITIONS ON SALT’S TOP LEGISLATIVE ISSUES FOR 2015-16. Your responses will be shared with our members and others via mailings and our website (www.s-a-l-t.org) as a helpful guide in their choice of candidates. Your answers will not be abbreviated or taken out of context. Please return your answers by August 21st by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you for your commitment to public service and for your willingness to share your opinions with SALT.

 
Candidate: David L. Bulova  

District:     37th House District

1. Closing The Health Care Coverage Gap for Low Income Adults – Virginia has the opportunity to use available federal funding to offer Medicaid health insurance coverage to up to 400,000 very low-income adults. Most are working in important job sectors such as retail, tourism, and construction, but unable to get affordable health insurance from their jobs or from the federal marketplace. Federal funding (which pays for 100% of the costs through 2016 and gradually reduces to 90% in 2020) would support Virginia hospitals, create jobs, and save state dollars currently supporting many health programs. Thirty states (including West Virginia and Kentucky) and D.C. already provide this coverage. Do you support closing the coverage gap? Please explain.

Yes, I fully support closing the coverage gap and accepting funding to expand Medicaid in Virginia. This is money that Virginians are already paying and should be brought back to the community where it can provide preventive health care and also make sure that families aren’t forced into bankruptcy due to an unexpected major illness.


2. Inflation Indexing of TANF Benefits is a Fairness Issue: Currently, a family of three in Virginia receives a fifth of the federal poverty level and has seen only one TANF increase since 1985. At $269 a month average for a family Virginia ranks 35th in TANF payments. Indexing would prevent further erosion of recipients’ ability to meet basic needs of children in their own home or in relative care and can be funded from the federal TANF block grant. Shouldn’t Virginia take steps to alleviate poverty and to protect families. Strong families are as important to Virginia’s future as schools and roads. What steps would you support to ensure a meaningful level of time-limited assistance to Virginia’s needy families? Please explain.

I support some type of automatic review or indexing by the Department of Social Services or another appropriate body to ensure that TANF benefits keep pace with inflation and their intent to provide support to families in dire need.


3. Corporate Tax Breaks: All Should Pay Their Fair Share. We know from local research across Virginia that the recent State budget cuts have cut into real, quality of life spending by local governments: libraries are closed, police have lost staff positions, teachers have lost their jobs, and class sizes increase for public school students. At the same time, too many (two-thirds) large corporations operating in our State get by with paying very little in corporate income tax due to tax breaks, subsidies, and clever work by their tax lawyers. How will you make sure that individuals and corporations at the upper end of our income scale pay their fair share so that we can avoid painful service cuts in the future?

I have supported reforming Virginia’s system of tax subsidies and tax breaks to ensure that any subsidies or breaks are rooted in sound public policy and don’t just result in shifting the burden of revenue generation on other sectors. A 2012 Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission report provides an excellent overview of how Virginia would benefit from greater scrutiny of these tax breaks.


4. Bring about effective change in the criminal justice system: Those who remain in contact with loved ones on the outside are less likely, studies show, to return to a life of crime after serving their time. So why does Virginia make it so hard for inmates to phone their families? SALT believes that telephone charges should be “just and reasonable”. A small reform, perhaps, but lower rates might help prisoners go straight. Do you support lower phone rate to reestablish contact between offenders and their families and ultimately to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders?

Yes, I support making sure that telephone charges are just and reasonable in order to facilitate contact with family.


5. Support of Operation Backpack for TANF Families -- Support of Operation Backpack for TANF Families -- This allowance would permit children living in poverty to acquire the needed school supplies and clothing essential for returning to school & equipping children to learn. Help Give School Supplies and Hope—a simple backpack can change lives. Would you support to give children in deepest poverty an even start?

I certainly support efforts to ensure that all children, especially in poverty, get an even start and a solid education.


6. Rescind the Federal Lifetime TANF Ban for Ex-Drug Offenders: Lifting the ban eliminates for ex-offenders (whose offense was solely drug possession) the disqualification from receipt of TANF federal transitional assistance needed to care for family members, increases the chances of gainful employment of ex-offenders. To us lifting the ban is a matter of fairness, as it serves to provide basic Re-entry program services that reduce recidivism and save states money. This ban penalizes children of drug felons. Do we want to be a society that requires children to pay for the misdeed(s) of their parents? Do you support extending the eligibility of ex-drug offenders for food stamps TANF benefits as well? Do you support extending TANF eligibility for ex-drug offenders who return to their families and take responsibilities for their families? Please explain.

Yes, I support extending TANF benefits for those ex-offenders who demonstrate a commitment to their families and to transitioning back to society.  This includes, but is not limited to, complying with all obligations imposed by a criminal court and other reasonable requirements


YOUR ISSUES:  What are some issues you feel strongly about that you would like to share with your SALT constituents?

I greatly appreciate SALT’s advocacy in the General Assembly. Two issues related to SALT’s mission that I am passionate about are protecting our natural resources and also fighting against the terrible crime of human trafficking. In 2013 and 2014 I worked with the Polaris Project to pass legislation requiring the posting of the National Human Trafficking Hotline at businesses with a high prevalence of trafficking. We must also do more to support trafficking victims. Finally, I have also worked with the City of Fairfax to enact legislation that provides additional tools to implement affordable housing.


Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!