Q. If elected, what will be your top three priorites for this office?
A. Restore the general fund to levels adequate to do the work we expect of state government through budget process trimming and new revenues from progressive sources. We currently have no upper bracket income tax for those earning over $100,000 a year. Massive cuts to upper bracket income taxes in recent years, and unwise transfers of general funds to highways have created the insolvency for FY '91.
B. Fund the third year of the Margin of Excellence.
C. Build a coalition of legislators to write and pass a fair school finance formula that is constitutional and dovetails with property tax relief.
Q. Do you support action on the part of the state to reduce property taxes? How would you propose to make up lost revenues if property taxes are reduced?
A. Property taxes are assessed, collected and spent by local governments. The state is involved to insure fairness. Statewide data on property tax shifts and revenues should be available in January. Based on that data, a constitutional amendment should be passed to shift a portion of the burden back onto state assessed property and large businesses. Small businesses and fraternal organizations should receive decreases, with further relief to homeowners and farmers. A well-written and funded school finance bill will help hold down property taxes. A solvent general fund can relieve long-term pressure on local governments to raise property taxes.
Q. What restrictions, if any, should be placed on abortion in Kansas?
A. It is doubtful, based on evidence that I have seen, that the legislative decisions in the area of abortion will be better than the decisions of the individual woman involved in consultation with her doctor, minister, priest, rabbi, etc.
Q. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is facing increased demands on its resources. How will the state be able to handle those demands? Do you think added tax revenues are needed, do you think eligibility requirements for some services need to be tightened, do you think some programs need to be eliminated or do you think no changes are needed?
A. The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services budget will be the most problematic of the tasks facing the House and Senate budget committees. An interim committee is studying the structure of SRS. Its report should be available soon. SRS will make large demands upon the general fund, particularly if case loads in 1990 were underestimated purposefully by the current administration. Most expensive in the SRS budget in recent years has been the nursing home reimbursement expense, caused by ever-increasing nursing home costs, and an aging population. The Legislature should look at alternatives like hospice and in-home care.
Q. What do you think is the most pressing problem facing state universities? Do you think state universities are adequately funded, particularly in regard to faculty salaries?
A. The third year of the Margin of Excellence should be funded. Faculty salaries must be competitive to preserve quality higher education options for Kansas' young people. High quality faculty is a basic university resource that must come first to assure quality education and proper financing of higher education. Qualified faculty attract other qualified faculty. They also attract a tremendous amount of grant money, out of which a very large portion of higher education on the larger campuses is financed, and preserve other jobs. They also develop quality students and an environment within which students can receive the best educational opportunities.