There has been concern that the tax cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback will prevent adequate funding of schools, social services and public safety and other areas of the state budget. Do you support or oppose the tax cuts?
I oppose the tax plan signed by Governor Brownback and backed by conservatives in the Kansas House & Senate. I believe that they are fiscally irresponsible and unsustainable. In fact, the non-partisan Kansas Legislative Research Department estimates that by FY 2018, Kansas will need to make up a nearly $2.5 billion budget shortfall due to these tax cuts. Because we have a constitutional responsibility to balance the state budget every year, this means we’ll either have to dramatically cut education funding, along with other crucial funds for transportation, infrastructure, public safety and social services OR Douglas County leaders will be faced with the choice of providing students with sub-standard education or increasing property taxes to offset the lost state dollars.
The increase would raise property taxes that are already among the highest in the country. Kansas ranks 41st in the nation in property tax burden. Over the past decade, property taxes have increased over 65 percent according to the Kansas Department of Legislative Research. These increases will affect low-income families and seniors the most. The State of Kansas has long relied on the “three-legged stool” of taxes: sales, income and property taxes.
Governor Brownback’s irresponsible plan disrupts that balance and disproportionately affects middle and low-income families. If elected, I will do all that is within my power to either stop or significantly alter the tax cuts. To be clear, I’m not opposed to tax cuts. I think we could consider tax incentives tied to job creation, consider caps on the size of business that can receive certain tax cuts, etc...In any case, our decisions need to be based on solid research, thoughtful discussion and with a focus on making sure everyone benefits.
The sales tax that is set to expire in 2013 was intended to be temporary. That’s the expectation of voters in Kansas. I don’t support the extension of the sales tax just to make up for the irresponsible tax plan that Governor Brownback put in place. Sales taxes disproportionately affect low and middle-income families. It was institute when the state was facing the potential of huge cuts to education and services due to the overall economic environment of the country.
There is always concern, when we have tax cuts, that we may not be
able to meet the needs of our schools, social services and public
safety. In this case, no I do not think this will prevent adequate
We will have to wait to see how these cuts will impact Douglas County
and its local government as well as schools. The purpose of these cuts
is meant to spur economic development and we certainly hope this will
create jobs and allow tax payers to pay back into the system, therefore
reaping the rewards at the district and county level. We will not know
how this will work until it starts to show data and bring in money.
Yes, the temporary portion of the sales tax increase should be allowed
What is your top priority if elected, and what would you do to get that done?
I have a few priorities and they are to assist in getting workers
back to work, to stimulate the economy, reduce the tax burden on Kansas
residents, and to provide a more than adequate way to fund education
that provides a safe and nurturing academic environment for our
children. I will work hard for those in the 10th district to achieve all
of these goals and any other initiatives that are brought to my
I will work tirelessly to ensure that young people in Kansas have the
opportunity to receive the best public education in the country. First,
I will work with my colleagues to restore educating funding--which means
repealing and replacing Governor Brownback's tax plan. Second, I will
work with local school officials, teachers, parents and students in
Douglas County to determine their biggest priorities and continually
communicate with them about progress being made. I will reach out to
leaders at the University to learn about the best ways to recruit and
retain talented educators. I certainly don't know everything there is to
know about education, which is why I plan on doing lots of listening,
researching and discussing. At the end of the day, I feel that my
approach--my ability to think creatively and critically, to work with
people with whom I might disagree, and to stay focused on solutions--is
what allows me to effectively represent the 10th District and help
improve the lives of all Kansans.