If elected, what would be your top three priorities as Kansas governor? Please be specific and detailed in your response.
1) Create quality jobs to grow the economy,
2) Maintain the state's critical support infrastructure (transportation system, public safety programs, social services) and
3) Make state government more efficient and responsive to Kansans by fixing or shutting down programs that are not working.
Creating jobs is more than just delivering talking points about “growth”, it’s about setting aside partisan blinders and putting real effort behind proven job-creators: renewable energy, animal biosciences and training more nurses, doctors, dentists and health care workers at our colleges and universities.
Maintaining the state's critical support infrastructure requires a business-like approach. I’m a businessman, not a career Washington politician. My experience comes from making a payroll, balancing the books and finding solutions to the challenges facing my customers.
As Governor, I will make state government more efficient by fixing or shutting down programs that are not working. For example, the Kansas Commission on Veteran’s Affairs (KCVA) needs to be streamlined and restructured. Currently, the KCVA has one veteran’s service representative for every 11,000 veterans and many veterans are not getting the services, information and customer service they need in a timely and efficient manner.
There are three areas in which we would consider substantial in this
election. One of them being to truly limit the scope of government in
Kansas. We believe if you do not deny the liberty of others, deprive
the real and intangible property of others and you have personal
responsibility for yourself, those under your care and the less
fortunate then there is no reason for the government to become
involved. We believe we must adopt fiscally responsible policies to
reduce costs and to retain solvency. The first obstacle would be to remove
the redundancy of regulationsand the several different taxing entities
which prevents the growth of small businesses. We would also recommend the
elimination of incentive programs, marketing subsidies and other
encroachments to revive free enterprise. It has to be realized that real
economic growth comes from the private sector and not through public
government. With this being considered we also suggest outsourcing
some functions to the private sector normally handled by the
state/local governments. Or in some cases completely privatizing
governmental functions to alleviate the cost burden upon taxpayers
and to initiate private enterprise. The other issue is education. The
Libertarian Party of Kansas has taken a different route considering
over 50% of the state budget goes towards education. The Libertarian Party
of Kansas has written and endorsed the Kansas Education Liberty Act
(KELA). KELA will reduce the costs to taxpayers, improve the quality of
education, provide more choices to students and promote incentives for
parental involvement. The Kansas Education Liberty Act emulates eighteen
school choice programs already in place in ten states and the District of
Columbia, serving over 171,000 American students. It has been endorsed
already by many individuals and groups.
Our first priority will be to restore economic growth in our state. Kansas lost more than 50,000 private sector jobs last year and personal income dropped 2.5%. Reversing this is key. As Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, I traveled frequently to promote Kansas products and businesses to export markets and we scored some real successes which helped to create jobs and generate income here at home. When it comes to recruiting new employers to our state, it's not going to be a mid-level appointee meeting with executives and boards of directors making the case for Kansas; it's going to be me.
We also must with the fact that Kansas' tax burden is substantially greater than all of our neighboring states, apart from Nebraska. In particular, taxes on capital formation are killing new businesses. Most new jobs come from small businesses and start-ups. We have to improve regulation, control spending and work towards lowering taxes, particularly on capital used to create jobs.
In addition to supporting public policy that gives our state a competitive business climate as well as strong schools, I also would insist that state regulation consistently be based on sound science and use existing resources to establish an Office of the Repealer to do away with unnecessary outdated or duplicative regulations.
Our detailed Road Map for Kansas lays out our plan to Grow the Economy; Reform Government; Improve Education and Protect Families. It includes specific steps we will take to achieve measurable accomplishments in each of these areas.
What will you do as governor to address Kansas' economic problems? What programs — if any — should be shielded from budget cuts, and what programs — if any — should be on the list for budget cuts?
The following actions will be our administration’s top priorities to Grow the Kansas Economy:
· Implement the Strategic Economic Development Plan.
· Pursue new economic opportunities. We will involve ourselves personally in keeping our local businesses vibrant and in attracting new businesses to the State.
· Reform the tax code. Capital and jobs flee to states with low overall tax rates and the right mix of taxes.
· Create Rural Free Enterprise Zones. These zones would be an effort to provide rural areas with declining populations an opportunity to find the right tax and economic development resource mix to help kick start growth in their regions.
· Explore new opportunities for expanding our agriculture exports, particularly with an eye toward animal agriculture.
· Support the competitiveness and growth of the aviation manufacturing sector in Kansas. We will work to ensure that Kansas remains the premier location for the design and manufacture of general and business aviation aircraft, military trainer aircraft, large commercial aerostructures as well as the modification and maintenance of military aircraft.
· Promote energy development and growth in wind power and ethanol. We will work to promote responsible energy development from every available source of energy, including traditional sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear.
· Work with the private sector to expand of the state’s broadband network.
· Expand the military-intellectual complex around Fort Leavenworth and the Command and General Staff College.
· Work to expand access to affordable health insurance options for businesses and individuals.
· Maintain our nationally recognized highways by implementing T-WORKS and looking for new opportunities in intermodal transportation development.
While we won’t have accurate data for the next governor’s budget until November when the next Consensus Revenue Estimate Report is released, it’s no secret that government spending in 2012 is projected to be hundreds of millions of dollars more than expected revenues. Upon taking office we will immediately institute a state general fund spending freeze and review revenue and spending estimates to take necessary steps to produce a balanced budget. We also will make use of Executive Reorganization Orders to make state government’s functions and structure better reflect the needs of Kansans.
Should balancing the budget require a spending reduction, there will be no easy choices. We will protect state government’s core functions like education, social services and public safety by focusing cuts on lower priority programs. It's worth noting that during the past two budget cycles, no requirements in the Kansas budget have been eliminated outright. State government needs to do fewer things and do them better.
To address our economic problems we must invest in human capital through our education system so that the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators are here in Kansas, hiring Kansans. Our state can distinguish itself from our Midwest neighbors by having the best trained workforce, the best economic climate and the best communities to attract new families and new companies to Kansas.
The first obstacle would be to remove the redundancy of regulations and the several different taxing entities which prevents the growth of small businesses. We would also recommend the elimination of incentive programs, marketing subsidies and other encroachments to revive free enterprise. It has to be realized that real economic growth comes from the private sector and not through public government. With this being considered we also suggest outsourcing some functions to the private sector normally handled by the state/local governments. Or in some cases completely privatizing governmental functions to alleviate the cost burden upon taxpayers and to initiate private enterprise.
What steps should Kansas take to improve its academic offerings — to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as students in community colleges and four-year universities?
The most important issue facing our schools is the need for a seamless transition between our levels of education and our workforce.
To better understand if our K-12 system is working, we must open the lines of communication between the Department of Education and our institutions of higher learning. Then we can see which areas need improvement, and which areas may serve as a model for others.
Additionally, to ensure that the experiences and skill sets provided in our schools are in line with the needs of industry and business, we must form a better partnership between our institutions of higher learning and the private sector.
A Kansas education must prepare our children to enter the workforce as productive, contributing citizens. Meanwhile, our institutions of higher learning should not only produce a trained and prepared workforce, but also offer opportunities for people to retrain so that they can adapt to the evolving needs of our economy.
As your governor, I will keep that commitment to our kids, our teachers and the schools that are at the heart of our communities.
<p>Education is the most important function of Kansas government. It is to the state government as defense is to the federal government: its primary function and the lion’s share of its budget. Our K-12 funding formula is broken as evidenced by the endless lawsuits filed against it. Our public universities have faced severe cuts. We will work to craft an education system that prepares our residents to succeed. Our focus so all students and educators Excel in Education will include:</p>
Focus the state’s dollars on classroom instruction.<br />
Promote unified accounting of school districts’ use of state funds and require transparent online spending reports.<br />
Reform the school finance formula and break the cycle of litigation.<br />
Ensure that students who pass the 4th grade read at grade level.<br />
Promote math and science in order to maintain Kansas’ leadership in engineering, energy, and bioscience.<br />
Support local economies by creating and expanding accredited apprenticeship and technical programs in high schools around the State.<br />
Limit professional liability for teachers.<br />
Promote higher pay for master teachers.<br />
Open up Kansas schools to programs that will provide dollars and opportunities to expand the Kansas education framework.<br />
Promote innovation in education such as virtual learning so that a school’s size doesn’t limit course offerings. <br />Additionally, alternative teacher certification programs must be enhanced so that lack of a traditional educational background doesn’t limit highly qualified individuals from teaching.<br />
Stabilize funding so our public universities remain strong to power a robust 21st Century Kansas economy.
Build the biosciences:<br />
Get the National Cancer Institute designation at KU’s Cancer Center.<br />
Build the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility at K-State.<br />
Support the Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pitt State.<br />
Encourage the National Institute for Aviation Research at WSU to continue to explore new orthopedic uses for composite materials.<br />
Work with Fort Hays State and Emporia State to meet our state’s future demand for international business leaders and teachers.<br />
Graduate more engineers to future industry needs in our state.<br />
Improve Rankings for KU’s School of Medicine, K-State’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and WSU’s aerospace research and development mission.<br />
Promote innovative programs at our State’s community colleges to meet future industry needs. Kansas community and technical colleges are positioned to be, and should be, our first responders to emerging workforce needs.<br />
In addition to the Kansas Education Liberty Act we believe control of the academia should be as local as possible if core subjects are taught. The academic offerings in higher education should properly prepare the students for the ever changing world.