Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2006

Economy at issue in televised debate

October 5, 2006


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and challenger Jim Barnett on Wednesday argued about the economy, school finance and immigration during a live televised debate.

"I'm proud of the work we've done together," said Sebelius, a Democrat seeking a second four-year term.

But Barnett, a Republican state senator from Emporia, said Sebelius had failed to lead on numerous issues. Kansans, he said, "want leadership. They don't want slick commercials."

The two face off Nov. 7.

The candidates fielded questions sent in from viewers during a half-hour debate on WIBW.

On the economy, Sebelius said when she came to office, Kansas was reeling from the post-Sept. 11, 2001, recession and state government was nearly broke.

Since then, state revenues have skyrocketed, thousands of jobs have been created and Kansas' economic growth is drawing national attention, Sebelius said. She added that the recovery happened without a tax increase.

But Barnett described Kansas' job growth as an "embarrassment," lagging the nation and surrounding states.

He noted that Sebelius proposed a tax increase in 2004 that was rejected by the Legislature.

If elected, Barnett said he would cut taxes to spur the economy.

On public school finance, Sebelius noted that Barnett voted against the new $466 million, three-year increase in funding that recently was approved by the Kansas Supreme Court to end a long-running lawsuit.

"The senator does not support the three-year plan that the Legislature passed, that I signed into law and that the court has signed off on. I do," she said. "If you elect Senator Barnett governor of this state, the promises will be broken to our children."

But Barnett said the new school funding plan "drives our state to unconstitutional debt."

"It's another broken promise in the making," he said. "All areas of government have been shut out and are at risk because of this fiscal irresponsibility from the office of governor."

Barnett also criticized Sebelius for signing into law a measure that allows the children of illegal immigrants to pay the less expensive in-state tuition at state institutions of higher education.

"We will remove that law from this state when I'm elected governor," he said.

Sebelius has said she approved the law because it requires those qualifying to have lived in Kansas at least three years, graduated from high school and started to seek citizenship.

During the debate, Sebelius called illegal immigration a "national crisis." She said she supports legislation that would fine employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, but added that the federal government needs to come up with a comprehensive plan to combat illegal immigration.

The forum was the second between Sebelius and Barnett. They will debate three more times before the election, with the next one being Oct. 11 at Lake Quivira.


xenophonschild 11 years, 7 months ago

Kathleen is an able, fiscally-responsible leader. She has performed well in office, and deserves to be re-elected . . . which she will be, in a landslide.

Those who wish to continue to rule of fundamentalist Christian conservative Republicans need only remember the perilous financial condition of the state when Kathleen took office, and how she resolutely forged a coalition in the Legislature to put our financial house in order.

Time to move Kansas into the blue.

coldandhot 11 years, 7 months ago

Sebelius is a true marketer. If people really knew what went on behind the scenes. She really twists arms behind the scenes and people are afraid to cross her. She will push you out if you step out of line. The D's in the Legislature won't admit it, but they feel it. They won't get money if they step out of line.

Boy, it would be grat if Barnett could pull this out.

KS 11 years, 7 months ago

Sebelius is a do nothing Gov. She has benefited from federal tax cuts which spurred the economy, now producing record numbers on Wall Street. Nothing the State of Kansas has done. She is in office only because the Republicans put up a very weak candidate four years ago. She has not done anything that strikes the lazy public to get out to vote and therefore she will be relected. Based upon her first term in office, since she did nothing, she probably will not screw things up too bad during the next four. Gosh, I wish we could find good people to run for office.

dizzy_from_your_spin 11 years, 7 months ago

Sebelius signed the school finance bill "with reservations" because she was fearful that it would not satisfy the SC and highlight her ineffectiveness.

Sebelius has not had a school plan for years; thank goodness her last one--funded by tax increases--was shot down.

Sebelius seems to "support" many things and eventually takes credit for the successes. Kansas doesn't need a delusional "fan" or "cheerleader" for govenor. Kansas needs a leader with tangible plans. Sebelius has failed in these regards and its time to elect somebody else to lead.

Godot 11 years, 7 months ago

Barnett's plan to revamp the way Kansans buy health insurance is the atrocious.

He has lost my vote.

Is there an independent running?

BigDog 11 years, 7 months ago

I won't comment one way or another .... but as is true in politics .... technically the economy has gotten better under Gov. Sebelius. Also the economy would have had to improve under anybody, part of it was about timing. When this governor took office Kansas economy was horrible because of September 11th and the major impact it had on the aircraft industry and if I remember correctly agriculture was pretty horrid at that same time.

So to be honest she has done some good things for the economy of KansaS but also economy couldn't have gotten much worse than it was.

plainspeaking 11 years, 7 months ago

BigDog is correct: the governor has relatively little impact on the economy.

For the others who lament that Governor Sebelius is a "do nothing governor" ... have you forgotten Governor Graves? Ol' "Tax Cut Bill" admitted to the Kansas City Star in his second term has he had done virtually nothing since taking office. And he felt really, really bad about that.

Honesty is OK, but Kansas had/have some real challenges that need to be addressed.

I believe Kathleen Sebelius will step up to the plate.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 7 months ago

Remember when Barnett's running mate was a no-name from Wichita? Then she pulled her little stunt to get onto the national media. Who would have thought it was all to advance her own career? Oh, that's right, I did. His inclusion of Ms. Wagle on the ticket is reason enough to vote for the evil Sebelius.

Kansas really should have a third party. Then it wouldn't almost always be a "lesser of two evils" kind of thing.

youngitized 11 years, 7 months ago

Barnett-Wagle...a good old fassion losing ticket. We should all remember Wagle the crazy senator from Wichita who tried to bring Dennis Dailey down. For Barnett's prediction...Gov. Sebelius 55%, Sen. Barnett 43%, other candidates 2%.

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