Archive for Sunday, October 29, 2006

Veteran, musician compete for seat in 47th District

October 29, 2006


James Robert Faris

James Robert Faris

Lee Tafanelli

Lee Tafanelli

It's a race between a legislator seeking his fourth term in the Kansas House and a 22-year-old bluegrass band member who thinks someone else deserves a shot at the seat.

"I think it's very important that we continue to focus on the economy - growing the economy and controlling state spending," said Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, incumbent legislator for the 47th District.

But Tafanelli's Democratic opponent in the district, which includes Jefferson and part of Atchison counties, said constituents need to see more results.

"A lot of people think (Tafanelli's) a nice guy. But he hasn't done what he says he's going to do, and a lot of people in the district are upset with that," said Jim Faris, a Democrat from Ozawkie.

But Tafanelli said his experience will pay dividends for the district.

Growing the economy is the key to solving state budget issues, he said. After supporting an earlier plan, Tafanelli voted against the three-year school-funding plan that eventually became law. He said it didn't do enough to support schools in his district and he feared not having a revenue source for the plan's third year.

"If that's the case, we basically end up trying to hurt the very people that we tried to help," he said.

Tafanelli, who spent 2005 in Iraq as a colonel in the Kansas Army National Guard, said he also thinks legislators will address key issues such as maintenance at state university buildings and increased Medicaid caseloads. He also hopes to pursue some type of property tax relief for senior citizens.

More about the race for Kansas House, 47th District

Faris - who will attend Highland Community College and wants to teach - said he would focus on improving public schools by trying to send more money to classrooms. He has also campaigned on helping low-income Kansans who do not have health insurance. He said he wants to make it easier for Kansas families to adopt children in state care.

"If we have loving individuals wanting to adopt kids that make a decent living, they should be able to without paying an arm and a leg," Faris said.


Richard Heckler 11 years, 8 months ago

"Wagle said the first thing that needs to be done is to lower income taxes, eliminate the death tax, and increase the child tax credit."This line is as old as the hills and they have been in the majority for too damn long and saying the same thing over and over.

The state republicans have been in the majority for a very long time. Once they are elected it becomes all about abortion,creationism ,not supporting public schools,unite against stem cell research and sex education which ultimately wastes valuable time.

Then they will want to do this again.

Beware: TABOR Is Coming After devastating government services in Colorado, the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" threatens to spread. BY MICHAEL REBNE

This article is from the July/August 2005 issue of Dollars & Sense magazine.

In 1992, after tireless nagging by Grover Norquist and his minions at Americans for Tax Reform, Colorado voters amended the state constitution to strictly limit the government's ability to raise revenue. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, has forced Colorado to spend the last 13 years writing mandatory rebate checks to taxpayers, while vital education and human-service programs have been nearly choked to death. According to David Bradley and Nicholas Johnson at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), for example, "between 1991 and 2003--a period in which the percentage of children who are uninsured declined nationally--the proportion of low-income children who lack health insurance in Colorado rose from 15% to 27%. Colorado now ranks 48th in its level of taxpayer support of colleges and universities, down from 35th in 1992."

Despite the pain TABOR has caused in Colorado, some 23 states were facing similar initiatives at the close of 2004. But Norquist's drive shows signs of floundering. "For businesses to be successful you need roads and you need higher education, both of which have gotten worse under TABOR and will continue to get worse," Tom Clark of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce told the Washington Monthly. "I'm a Republican," Clark said, "but I made the decision not to give any money to the state party." Likewise, Colorado Governor Bill Owens is having trouble garnering support from his own party's legislators, most of whom know their constituents no longer believe TABOR is a good thing. The anti-TABOR movement, meanwhile, continues to gain momentum, as the story of Colorado's misery begins to spread nationally.


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