Rikki Vaughn’s platform is designed to mirror the state of Colorado’s legalization approach. In 2016 alone, Colorado generated over $150 million in taxes from the sale of legal marijuana. At the same time, the legalization of marijuana created over 18,000 jobs for citizens of the state. Combined, these factors helped Colorado to become the nation’s top economy.
Rikki plans to use these findings as the basis for his platform in order to create genuine change. Rikki plans to use his position as a US Senator to push for marijuana legalization, both in Maryland and in the United States at large. Once legalized, Rikki will earmark all tax revenue for social and economic programs. This includes providing an increase in revenue to the public-school systems, with a focus on improving pay for teachers and providing supplies, books and food for students. Rikki will fund public works projects using this money to improve Maryland’s infrastructure and create new jobs for Marylanders.
Funding will also be increased for law enforcement and first responders, with a focus on providing better training, better equipment and tools for interacting with community members in a meaningful and positive manner. The goal of this approach is to provide agencies with better means for serving the community.
Revenue will be set aside for educational and vocational programs for individuals with criminal records. Presently, roughly 20% of the American population possesses a criminal record. This makes finding housing and employment virtually impossible, which leads these individuals into a life of reliance on social programs. Furthermore, a lack of opportunity to live and work in society promotes recidivism, as these individuals turn to crime for basic necessities. Under Rikki’s platform, individuals who have completed their legal sentences will be offered the ability to received educational and vocational training. Rikki will create tax incentives for businesses who provide second chances to ex-convicts. This approach creates two distinct positive outcomes: ex-convicts will be given the opportunity to live, work and contribute to society, and society will save valuable tax-payer money by not having to support these individuals via social and economic safety nets. Finally, Rikki will use his platform to push for an increase in Maryland’s minimum wage. The goal of this is to provide a “living wage” for all Marylanders. Based on current economic data, the average Marylander must make $12.81 per hour in order to sustain themselves in Maryland’s economy.
Rikki’s goal is to raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $9.25 per hour to $13 per hour. This will be done over a five-year period, with wages being raised $0.75 per year until the $13-dollar wage is achieved. This goal will not come at the expense of businesses and business owners. Instead, Rikki will work to create impactful tax cuts for businesses so that these entities will be able to pay employees more while still maintaining their profitability and earnings.
To offset the tax breaks, the remaining money from the taxation of marijuana will be invested back into local and state governmental agencies so that these entities will still maintain their revenue. This creates a true “win-win” for Marylanders, business owners and governmental agencies.
Using this Platform, Marylanders will See:
• An increase in earnings for all employed persons
• An increase in employment and a variety of employment opportunities
• An improved education system for all citizens, regardless of social status or socioeconomic background
• Improved infrastructure via public works projects
• Increased tax revenue, both from legalized marijuana and from increased employment for all citizens
• More opportunity, less need for social systems due to increased education and employment and a greater society for all Marylanders