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Libertarian councilman fights for those he serves

Councilman Mark Byrne, a Libertarian running for re-election to the Port Huron, Mich. city council, laid out his pro-jobs, pro-tax relief, pro-fiscal responsibilty agenda for voters at a July 29 candidate forum.

Counciman Byrne said he would like to see the decrease and, potentially, elimination of city's property tax, which would increase the number of businesses in Port Huron and offer more jobs for citizens.

In interviews with the Port Huron Times Herald, Libertarian Councilman Byrne also shared his views on:

What, other than job creation (a top Libertarian issue) is the biggest issue facing Port Huron?:

"A big issue facing Port Huron is that our next generation is leaving the area in search of career opportunities. We must start creating an environment in Port Huron that attracts entrepreneurs to start, relocate or expand their business here. Reducing regulatory and tax burdens is the best way to attract them. There are many growing industries, including technology and renewable energy. In addition, having large companies open branches in Port Huron provides career opportunities. Stafford, Texas, has been extremely successful at this, and we should learn from the strategy they used. See www.cityofstafford.com for details."

His vision for McMorran Place, a government-run downtown theater:

"As a Libertarian, I believe government has no business being in the entertainment industry. Selling McMorran or leasing it to a private company will eliminate the city's $300,000 a year subsidy, result in the facility being better utilized, draw more people downtown and generate more tax revenue along with more jobs at the facility. River Street Marina, for example, once placed in control of a private sector company, went from being a money pit to money maker, despite high gas prices and a very rough economy."

His opinions on the city's sewer separation project:

"Reversing declining population and business base is the way to ensure revenue is maintained or increased without raising taxes. Over the life of this debt service, cost cuts will add up. Selling the marina and city-owned land shifted $8 million in costs to $1 million in revenue. Eliminating double pensions and severance for quitting reduced costs by another $2 million. Changing work rules so that vacation and sick days must be used up each year or lost instead of accumulated and cashed out at higher pay rates inflating pension benefits, also will save additional millions over the debt payoff period."