GOP 70th District candidates offer voters a choice

JohnBarkerMugshot

EDITOR: Two Republicans, John Barker of Abilene and Doug Lindahl of Enterprise, are on the ballot for the 70th District seat in the Kansas House of Representa?tives vacated by Robert Brookens of Marion. We asked each candidate to answer a few brief questions; their responses appear below. With redistricting, the new 70th District includes roughly the northern half of Marion County, including Marion. The rest of the county, including Hillsboro and Peabody, are now part of the 74th District. Incumbent Don Schroeder of Hesston is running unopposed for the Republican nomination in the 74th.

JOHN BARKER

JohnBarkerMugshot ? What life experiences have prepared you to effectively represent your district in the Kansas Legislature?

I served 25 years as judge of the 8th judicial district overseeing cases in Dickinson, Geary, Marion and Morris counties. As judge, I served 11 years on the judge?s legislative committee working with House and Senate members on issues relating to the judiciary.

In 1999 I was appointed by former Gov. Graves to chair the State Incentive Grant Committee, which administered a $9.5 million grant from the U.S. government. This committee assisted communities throughout the state of Kansas to develop programs reducing drug, alcohol and tobacco use among juveniles over a four-year period.

? Do you think the law initiated by Gov. Brown?back to reduce the top individual state income-tax rate to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent in 2013, and eliminate income taxes on non-wage income for about 191,000 small businesses is in the best interest of Kansas?

Yes, I support Brownback?s proposal because I believe it will create jobs. The proposal was intended to stimulate small-business growth. If 50 percent of small businesses add an additional employee during the next year or two, that would add more revenue for the state of Kansas than a tax cut. Everyone will be paying less but more people will be paying.

In 2010 and 2011, there was 0 percent growth. We have added jobs in 2012 and I think it will continue.

 

 

? What is your vision in regard to state funding for K-12 public education during the next five years?

Presently K-12 is funded with 53 percent of the state?s general budget and K-16 is 66 percent of that of the general budget. I would not support any measure where that would decrease. I am an advocate for education, to include vocational education.

As for the next five years, I think we will continue to spend more money on education and continue to get positive results. We need to take the bureaucracy out of education and allow teachers to teach.

? If you had the authority to enact the legislation yourself, what three specific initiatives would you put forth to secure a better future for the citizens of Kansas?

(1) I would remove outdated regulations that put great burdens on small businesses making it difficult to expand.

(2) I would review all sales tax exemptions and confirm they are needed.

(3) I would allow fewer unfunded state mandates to counties and cities.

 

DOUG LINDAL

DougLindahlMugshot ? What life experiences have prepared you to effectively represent your district in the Kansas Legislature?

As a vocational rehabilitation professional for 37 years, I?ve practiced listening skills while working with clients trying to put their lives back together following an injury.

As a Chapman school board member for 20 years I also had to listen to both sides of sometimes tense situations. I also served as chief negotiator for the board for 15 years.

On the school board and DS&O Electric Coop board I had to review and approve budgets and contracts.

I?m the fourth generation on our family farm and a Farm Bureau member, so I have some awareness of ag issues and am concerned about over-regulation and property taxes.

? Do you think the law initiated by Gov. Brown?back to reduce the top individual state income-tax rate to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent in 2013, and eliminate income taxes on non-wage income for about 191,000 small businesses is in the best interest of Kansas?

I am concerned that it might be too much too fast. If elected, I?ll want to immediately check on how it?s affected revenues.

No one is opposed to responsible tax cuts, but I?m not convinced the hoped-for job growth will occur fast enough to offset the tax reduction. If that occurs we?re in for either massive service reductions, huge property-tax increases at the local level or some combination of the two.

Legislative Research is concerned about the reduction of revenue and the potential for massive deficits. Some say that data is inaccurate and we?ll just cut expenses if necessary to avoid a deficit. Try to imagine a $2.5 billion cut of services in a $6.5 billion budget. Ask people pushing these tax cuts what they intend to cut.

? What is your vision in regard to state funding for K-12 public education during the next five years?

Base state aid to education has been cut more than $400 per student since the recession began in 2008. Since almost 80 percent of schools budgets are for personnel, many districts have settled for no or very little raises for personnel while cutting staff when possible.

Education needs to be viewed as an investment in our future. Cost efficiencies are good, but I think we?ve about maxed them out. If we?re slowly coming out of the recession we need to slowly restore the funding cuts and thank our educators for selflessly helping us and our students through these tough times.

? If you had the authority to enact the legislation yourself, what three specific initiatives would you put forth to secure a better future for the citizens of Kansas?

(1) As mentioned in my response to the first question, I would review tax receipts and slow the rush to zero income taxes in order to avoid massive service cuts or local property tax increases.

(2) I would preserve the transportation plan funding since it is tremendous job stimulus and enables us to maintain an excellent highway system. We shouldn?t treat that fund like the Social Security Trust Fund has been treated at the national level.

(3) I would work to slowly restore funding cuts to education. We?ve got to stop treating educational costs as a problem.

My farm has two small pieces carved out of it by my great grandfather and the community. One was for a two-room country school and one was for a church and cemetery. We need to remember the sacrifices that our ancestors made to help build this great country and see what we can do to secure our children?s future.

 

 

More from Hillsboro Free Press
Big first half carries Cards over Marion
Click to buy photo Sheldon Boone tries to put a move on...
Read More