Archive for Thursday, October 7, 2010

Campaign Notebook: Gubernatorial candidates tangle over taxes, schools

With the election looming, the four candidates used this as an opportunity to answer any lingering questions about their platforms and goals.

October 7, 2010


— In their only televised debate in the race for governor, Democrat Tom Holland and Republican Sam Brownback on Thursday tangled over taxes and school funding.

They were joined in the forum on KWCH-TV by Libertarian Andrew Gray and Reform Party candidate Ken Cannon.

On the issue of taxes, Holland proposed a commission to consider the state's numerous sales tax exemptions, and then have the Legislature vote up or down on the commission's recommendations.

"Some of those exemptions make sense, others don't," said Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City.

But Brownback, a U.S. senator, said removing tax exemptions was the same as raising taxes, which he said he opposed. He said the state needs to consider the totality of tax policy and see if there needs to be changes.

Both Gray and Cannon said they opposed increasing taxes. Cannon said he was the only candidate to support a so-called fair tax, a proposal to replace most taxes with a single sales tax.

On school finance, Holland said Brownback's intention to reform the school finance formula without saying how "should raise a lot of red flags." Holland said he opposes cutting school funding, and wants to increase money to education as the economy improves.

All four candidates said they opposed the statewide ban on indoor smoking in public venues, such as bars and restaurants. Holland voted against the ban during the last legislative session, saying the decision should be left up to local governments.

Brownback said he agreed with local control on the smoking issue, and expressed displeasure with the statewide ban's exemption of state-owned casinos, saying that was hypocritical. He said if elected governor he would be interested in imposing the smoking ban on casinos.

After record budget cuts in recent years, the candidates were asked how they would secure funding for social services.

Holland said he worked with a bipartisan group in the Legislature that did the hard work of passing a balanced budget that will provide services for vulnerable Kansans. "Sen. Brownback has never created a job or balanced a budget," he said.

Brownback said the key to providing funds for needed services was to improve the economy. "We have to grow our way out of this," he said, adding that means reducing regulations and holding down taxes.

The best one-liner in the debate may have been delivered by Cannon. Brownback referred several times during the debate to his policy statements contained in what he calls his "Road Map for Kansas." Cannon said, "Kansans are not lost. We don't need a road map."

After the debate, which lasted less than 30 minutes, Holland called for more candidate forums.

Brownback has agreed to one more debate later this month, but Holland has turned that one down, in part he said, because it is hosted by conservative talk radio hosts. There are no other debates scheduled at this time. The Thursday debate on KWCH will be broadcast on Saturday on KTKA in Topeka.

-- Statehouse reporter Scott Rothschild can be reached at 785-423-0668.


bearded_gnome 7 years, 5 months ago

so, are gubernatorial candidates running to become ...

... guber? [goober]

Carol Bowen 7 years, 5 months ago

Tom Holland knows Kansas. Sam Brownback has been away too long. He's out of touch with the workings of local government and it's challenges.

StaceyD 7 years, 5 months ago

Only one Gubernatorial Candidate fought this ban before it became law, and that was Libertarian Andrew Gray. He and the Libertarian Party of Kansas's fought to stop this infringement of property rights; this infringement of Liberty.

The two establishment parties have enjoyed a monopoly of ideas and power in Kansas for 110 years. Every election year they say what we want to hear, and afterwards ignore us. This smoking ban is a wonderful example of that. Have we finally learned our lesson?

This year Kansans can create a third major political party when Andrew Gray gets just 5% or more of the statewide vote. Will you waste your vote again, or will you vote with courage for the creation of a new kind of political party and a new kind of civil servant?

Andrew Gray will be on the general election ballot and he needs your vote.

The LPKS is the fastest growing party in Kansas.

Doug Fisher 7 years, 5 months ago

Anybody but Brownback! Oh wait I don't live in KS anymore. Have fun with your new governor. Ole Sammy is out of touch with the rest of the country and even withdrew before the Republican primaries for President in 08. Smart move on his part. Between the Phelps clan and this guy, Kansas is a laughing stock now more than ever.

douglas6280 7 years, 5 months ago

How about Kobach? You said anybody but...

vermont 7 years, 5 months ago

Brownback is crazy!!! Don't let him sit in that office! I don't care who you vote for just don't vote for Brownback. He will destroy Kansas! Do your research and VOTE.

Steve Miller 7 years, 5 months ago

NO matter who, they are all the runation of the country, they each do their damage at their own pace ..

notajayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Did my research. That's WHY I'm voting for him. Get over it.

Steve Miller 7 years, 5 months ago

They are all a bunch of crooks any way,, they will tell you what you want to hear !!!

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 5 months ago

I love how the KPERS issue isn't mentioned in this article. Did they just not talk about it?

RonBurgandy 7 years, 5 months ago

"Sam is so on it about the formula for funding being broke. The guy knows Kansas!!"

Speaking of rubes...

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago

Interesting that Brownback said he was opposed to the state smoking ban, but that he would extend it to casinos.

Wouldn't it be more in-line with his opposition to repeal the ban?

CreatureComforts 7 years, 5 months ago

The liberals think the Republicans are scum. The conservatives think the Dems are scum. When will you people all just realize that they are ALL scum? My gosh...they are politicians, folks.

JHOK32 7 years, 5 months ago

Apparently Brownback speaks out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to healthcare. He has no problem in denying healthcare to 200,000 of his fellow Kansans because taxpayers should not have to pay for it, but then he turns around & holds his hand out to us taxpayers to pay for his healthcare. Same old story.........the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Yeah, let's vote this guy into being our Governor. If you're already rich you have no worries, you'll get richer. If you're an unemployed single mother who has a little kid with cancer.......well, you're just on your own. Good luck and don't let the door hit you on your way out.

notajayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago


1) There are not 200,000 Kansans without health care. Health insurance is a different matter.

2) Sam gets his health insurance paid for by the taxpayers because he works for it. What's your excuse for asking for a handout?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.