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Archive for Monday, October 28, 2002

38th District hopefuls differ on which taxes to raise

October 28, 2002

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Rob Boyer and Carlie Abel have been knocking on a lot of doors lately, taking the pulse of the Kansas House of Representative's 38th District.

"Quality education is clearly the No. 1 issue," Boyer said.

Abel agreed. "Everywhere I go, people want to know how we're going to fund education," he said.

Boyer, a Republican, and Abel, a Democrat, are running for the 38th District seat in the House.

Both say a tax increase for schools is inevitable and warranted. But they differ on which taxes ought to be raised.

Boyer, who lives in Olathe and owns a paper shredding company in Overland Park, said he's for loosening state restrictions on local school districts wanting to increase local property taxes.

"School districts need more options, more flexibility," Boyer said.

Abel, 50, thinks that's a bad idea.

"Some school districts  like those in Johnson County  have the wealth and the resources to raise their LOBs without much trouble," Abel said. "But the smaller districts  your Wellsvilles and your Eudoras  can't do that; they don't have the resources. It's not fair."

He'd rather take the money out of the state's gaming revenues, most of which are now set aside for economic development.

If that's not enough, he's ready to tax Internet sales.

"Before we make cuts in the classroom, I'd rather we tax Internet sales," Abel said. "I also think that by taxing Internet sales, we'd be leveling the playing field for companies that aren't in a position to do much business over the Internet."

A union carpenter, Abel has spent the past 10 years on the Eudora school board.

Besides letting school districts raise their local option budget more than the 25 percent that's currently allowed, Boyer, 34, said he was willing to support a slight increase in the state's sales tax. He's also willing to increase the state tax on beer and alcohol.

"In exchange for raising the tax on alcohol, I'd support Sunday sales," Boyer said. "I'd also take a look at expanding the state's gaming  slots at the Woodlands racetrack, for example."

Abel said he, too, would go along with more gaming and raising the tax on beer and alcohol. He'd also support slight increases in the state's sales, property and income taxes.

"Usually, when people talk about raising taxes, it's one or the other," Abel said. "I'd rather go with a little of all three."

Boyer said he'd oppose raising the state's income tax.

"Income tax unfairly punishes people for making money because the more you make, the more you pay," he said.

Abel and Boyer each said they would vote to raise taxes before cutting school spending. The state's laws on abortion and gun control, they say, are reasonable and adequate.

Other issues:

Boyer said he's pro-business; Abel considers himself pro-labor.

l Abel would support giving school districts a say in tax-abatement negotiations between local governments and businesses.

l Boyer fears the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant near DeSoto is headed for "piecemeal development." He'd rather see the area developed as a "single entity."

Boyer and Abel are both married and have three and two children, respectively.

Abel attended Pittsburg State University for three years, Kansas University for one. Boyer is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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