Shelly Skolnick is running for the U.S. House of Representatives to push Congress to have a better federal budget.
The self-described moderate Republican is seeking Maryland’s 8th District seat. He will face off against Dan Cox, Jeffrey W. Jones, Liz Matory and Aryeh Shudofsky in the GOP primary April 26.
His main platform is to make Washington pass a timely, balanced budget. He wants Congress to work full time, with no recesses or vacations, until it passes a budget, if it fails to do so by a July 31 deadline.
“The basic requirement of Congress is to fund the government,” he said.
Skolnick, a Silver Spring resident, said he would like to see the federal budget balanced within four years.
“I think it’s immoral that we keep on borrowing money, asking the next generations to pay off this debt,” he said. “I think we ought to live within our means.”
To balance the budget, Skolnick would propose tax reform. He’d eliminate the capital gains tax and set the individual, corporate and estate taxes at uniform income-based tiers of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 percent. That plan, he said, would ensure that high earners pay a fair share.
Another piece of the budget puzzle would be to remove the income cap on the Social Security withholding tax, Skolnick said.
Skolnick, a lawyer, also hopes to reform Social Security by allowing people to voluntarily wait until they are 75 to claim benefits in exchange for a higher return. If people paying into the system die before age 62, their survivors could claim half of it, as if it were life insurance.
He would advocate for repealing federal laws on marijuana, except for its importation, and enact a sales tax on the drug.
Skolnick said the Affordable Care Act should be replaced by a plan that extends Medicare’s hospital coverage to all citizens. That, he said, would reduce the cost of private health insurance and could be paid for with a value-added tax.
“There still would be private insurance, but it would be affordable,” he said.
Skolnick would increase the gas tax to fund infrastructure improvements to highways, bridges and tunnels 1 cent a month for 12 months, then a penny per year after that. The funds would create jobs in construction and related industries, he said.
The funding may also help tackle what Skolnick saw as Frederick County’s biggest federal issue: the traffic problem on I-270.
He is proposing to increase commuter bus usage by creating bus lane tolls on the far left lane of interstate highways. Funds from the tolls, he said, could help expand I-270.
To address concerns about the cost of college tuition, Skolnick said there should be grants for people who volunteer as tutors or first responders, up to a maximum of $10,000.
“Here the state and local governments would benefit,” he said.
Skolnick does not have elected experience, but he ran for the 8th District seat in 2012. He lost in the primary.
He has also run unsuccessfully for Montgomery County Council and, as a write-in candidate, for state Senate.
The general election is Nov. 8.
Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are paid $174,000 annually.