- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Independent candidate for governor Jeff McCormick said Wednesday that he supports repealing the state’s casino law and, if elected, would work to bring Massachusetts’ income tax rate down to 5 percent by making government run more efficiently.

The Boston venture capitalist said he’d bring in outside analysts to conduct a “top to bottom” review of the state budget to look for waste, fraud and abuse.

“I know there are other areas of state spending where we can get a lot of savings,” McCormick said, adding that tightening the state’s fiscal belt could eventually bring down the income tax rate from the current 5.2 percent to 5 percent.

Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed a $36.2 billion state budget for the new fiscal year.

Asked about a proposed ballot question that would repeal the 2011 state law allowing up to three casinos and a single slots parlor, McCormick said that he’s “not a huge fan of casinos” and would vote in favor of the repeal if it reaches the November ballot.

McCormick, speaking at Suffolk University, said he was concerned about unintended consequences of expanded gambling, including the toll that casinos would take on people with gambling problems.

Another proposed ballot question would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10.50 an hour over two years and automatically link future increases to the state’s rate of inflation.

McCormick said he’s opposed to automatic wage hikes, saying it should be up to lawmakers to consider future increases.

“On the minimum wage, I don’t there should be this ad infinitum indexing,” he said.

McCormick, a runner who competed in last year’s Boston Marathon, said he’s opposed to the death penalty. Federal prosecutors say they’ll seek the death penalty against suspected marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

McCormick also said he has a “real problem” with the state’s incarceration rate. He said he opposes the use of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders.

“I think we need to look now at the incarceration rate and really say ‘Are we doing the smart thing?’” McCormick said. “It is so much cheaper to invest in people’s rehabilitation than their incarceration.”

McCormick said he’s also leery about efforts to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts, saying the state should first allow the new medical marijuana law to take effect. Some pot activists are vowing to put a full legalization question on the ballot in 2016.

McCormick, who founded Saturn Partners in 1993, said his skills in the private sector will translate to the state’s top political office. He also said the fact that he’s running as an independent candidate means he’s not beholden to any political party.

McCormick is one of 10 candidates running for the governor’s office, including five Democrats, two Republicans and two other independent candidates.

Gov. Patrick is not seeking a third term.

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