Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kansas House candidates debate taxes, government’s role

October 21, 2010

About 70 people listened to the Kansas 10th District House candidates answer questions Oct. 12 at Baker University.

Incumbent Democrat Tony Brown and challenger TerriLois Gregory, a Republican, discussed taxes, education funding, improving the economy and other issues during a forum sponsored by the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce.

Both candidates said they oppose high taxes several times during the forum. However, the subject of taxes came up several times during the hour-long event.

“I think people forget that politicians pay taxes, too,” Brown said. “People accused me of wanting to raise taxes once I got to Topeka. Voting for the 1-cent sales tax was probably the single-most difficult personal decision I’ve ever made in my life, because I knew what it did to the people of Kansas. I oppose excessive taxes. I don’t think you’ll get a whole lot of controversy about that. The question is where is the balance. We have turned tax into a four-letter word. We can’t even talk about it.”

Gregory said she believed the government should play less of a role in Kansan’s lives.

“I believe less government is better,” Gregory said. “There is a basic level of government that I am willing to fund. I think we do agree on the issue that people want more services, which they will fund with more taxes, or they are going to be willing to live with less services and lower taxes. We won’t receive more services for less taxes, but we have to keep the government out of people’s lives.”

Another hot topic was government mandated health insurance. The candidates were asked if they would support legislation to exempt Kansans from the federal requirement to buy health insurance?

“I would not only support that legislation, I would protect you from federal mandates,” Gregory said. “I would support the right for Kansas citizens to choose for themselves on the ballot this fall how they want to handle this issue. This is the very reason that we have the 10th amendment. One person and one state can make a difference. We are having our personal freedoms removed from us. It’s time to lock and load ‘em and fight back.”

Brown said it would not be wise for Kansas to spend money fighting the issue because it would be decided on the federal level.

“This issue is working its way through the federal court, and it’s going to be decided at the federal level,” Brown said. “If it is deemed to be constitutional, it applies to all of the states. It’s not a situation where we can opt out or any other can opt out. I have personal questions about this legislation, but I don’t think it’s prudent for Kansas to spend our valuable resources to do something that makes us feel like we are thumbing our nose at Washington.”

The two candidates were also asked what their top two priorities would be should they win the Nov. 2 election.

“I think the primary focus we should have in Topeka is adequate funding for education,” Brown said. “The other priority is we’ve got to get out of the three anchors of state economy that we’ve been relying on for a long time. Those would be agriculture, oil and gas and aerospace. We’ve got to have more money in the pot.”

Brown said opportunities for growth existed in high-tech industries, especially in the biosciences and animal-health industries.

Gregory agreed there are opportunities for job growth in wind energy and the planned intermodal transportation hub near Edgerton. However, her priorities are different from her opponent’s, she said.

“My top priorities would be to quit spending money we don’t have and to implement efficiencies,” Gregory said. “We need to implement standard accounting for all agencies, not just schools, so that taxpayers can see where their money is being spent.”

After answering 10 questions about popular topics, the candidates gave their closing remarks.

“We are at a crossroad here in Kansas,” Brown said. “Are we going to be a state that funds education and provides services to our elderly and people in need? Or during these tough economically times, are we going to cut taxes as much as possible and live in a state that just gets by?”

Gregory responded with her closing remarks.

“You’ve heard we have to increase our taxes or cut our services, but there is another option,” Gregory said. “We can implement efficiencies, and we can cut wasteful spending.”

The 10th District includes Baldwin City, Wellsville, north Ottawa and south Lawrence.

Comments

flying26u 3 years, 6 months ago

Gregory makes good points while Brown follows Obama's leadership and Communistic agenda. I and family will vote for Gregory!

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Nathaniel Johnson 3 years, 5 months ago

First you should get a GED and move out of your Mom's basement.

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NanCrisp 3 years, 6 months ago

Interestingly, I keep getting flyers in the mail from the Democrats that show Tony Brown and feature construction equipment, tools and hardhats. This, after he has publicly mocked the construction industry as reported a couple of years ago in the Baldwin City Signal. Yes, Tony, there ARE a lot of hungry construction companies out here. And we don't appreciate your patronizing attitude toward our industry.

FYI, the vast majority of stimulus dollars for infrastructure will be spent on highways. Highway construction is a very specialized area of construction that requires large crews, large equipment, i.e. -- large companies. So, far from propping up small companies by putting a lot of money into highway projects, our State and Federal governments are propping up big business, large corporations in the construction industry. All the while, small independent contractors are still going out of business daily. And the thousands of "created" jobs? These companies come from out of state and bring their out-of-state workers with them. Only a handful of the available jobs will be filled by Kansans. On the other hand, small Kansas contractors tend to hire almost exclusively from the local worker pool.

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greyghost 3 years, 6 months ago

There are a lot of hungry shoe salesmen out there too, if it makes you feel better.

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true_bulldog 3 years, 6 months ago

OK, Nan, I have tried to stay off this, but you keep bringing it up. You won't answer other posters, who are tired of hearing you whine about this, but did your husband's company actually bid on the downtown project? Probably not or you would have said so. I also want to say that I am truly sorry your husband's company went belly up in this economy. You are far from alone.

But to continually blame that on Tony Brown is just plain wrong on many levels. Yes, he did say contractors are hungry. Duh. Of course they are. I don't think he said anything wrong about your situation.

You should know, and I think you really do but are just forgetting this or whatever, that the city alone did not award the contract for the downtown project. Because it was KDOT money mostly, they are the ones that ultimately approved who got the contract. The city council's vote on approval of that, which Tony's vote was only one, was a formality. Quit blaming him for your problems, would you, Nan?

Or, Nan, would you like some cheese with that whine?

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greyghost 3 years, 6 months ago

“I believe less government is better,” Gregory said.

Except when Terri Lois needs a personal government bailout!

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 6 months ago

Terri is only going to put our school district in worse shape than it is now. Wait they just need to cut wasteful spending like keeping a school open for 100 students.

She seems to think that a state can tell the Feds to go packing, but without the Feds help and lowering taxes we will be driving on dirt roads and have the worst schools in the country.

Where does she think the money comes from?

Did she have any examples of the wasteful spending that we could cut?

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 5 months ago

Your seriously mistaken if you think the State of Kansas is where it is at today do to the Federal Govt. This country is where it is today do to the efforts of hard working Americans and private Enterprise. Also if you consider almost all the money that the Federal Govt gives to Kansas in Grants and Bonds is either money they took from us in the first place or money they created out of thin air with the help of the Federal Reserve (which you & I have to pay back with interest), then we are actually worse off with them then with out them.

Then you would have to factor in the fact that our Foreign and Domestic policy for the last 150 years has done nothing but make Kansan's less safe.

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Nathaniel Johnson 3 years, 6 months ago

TerriLois offered a suggestion for cutting costs by changing accounting methods. This is actually not a bad idea but accounting method changes generally don't result in savings but rather in new distribution of funds. I didn't hear her suggest any other ideas but I did hear her say that she wants to end the waiting list for disabled students. The cost for this is somewhere around 100 million over the next four years. I actually agree that we need to address this issue but I find it hard to believe that you can run on a cut taxes/raise spending agenda.

I think it bears mentioning that TerriLois supports the forced consolidation of schools into a fewer number of districts. The specific plan I read about would have consolidated districts by county. In our case we would have joined into Lawrence and Eudora. There are reasonable arguments to be made for doing this but we would essentially lose any voice in the school board that would emerge. This is the bill that Tony voted against. The only other option presented was supported by a bi-partisan group of legislators from smaller rural districts and did indeed raise our sales tax instead of forcing consolidation.

As I stated in a Letter to the Editor, what bothers me most about Ms. Gregory is her statements about 10th amendment rights. This is a typical wedge issue that was resolved some hundred and fifty years ago. It did not go well for the folks that felt that they could go their own way. Issues like this are resolved in the Federal courts and have absolutely nothing to do with state legislators until the courts make their decisions. What disturbs me is that anyone can be so nonchalant when saying something like "Lock and Load". It might be just rhetoric but some things just aren't tolerable.

Nathaniel Johnson gruyere.emmentaler@gmail.com

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 5 months ago

I would like you to please tell me how the 10th amendment was resolved some 150yrs ago...did I miss a change in the constitution??

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true_bulldog 3 years, 5 months ago

Amen, Nathaniel. "Lock and Load" describes her and it is so scary I can't believe it. How could anyone, much less someone running for office, say that? If she is elected, we are all in trouble. She has her eyes set on reducing school funding. She doesn't have kids, so she doesn't understand the importance of education. She is purely scary.

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Torch 3 years, 5 months ago

You can't be serious. This is a joke post right?

She doesn't understand the value of education because she has no children? Wow.

So because you do have children you don't understand the value of vacations in Costa Rica?

What the heck does her not having children have anything to do with understanding the value of education?!?!? Truth is she's on the right track. Cutting the fraud, waste, and abuse out of our schools would be a step in the right direction.

As far has her 'Lock and Load' comment - it's called hyperbole. And your reaction to it is called sensationalism (that was the kindest word I could think of). Get a grip.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 5 months ago

I would agree with allot of the comments on here about Terri not being the right person for the 10th district, but I also think Tony needs to start standing up to Federal Govt more and stop letting them trample all over our rights with their unconstitutional laws. I think the states need to do some more thumbing our noses at the Federal Govt, it's work well for California and their passing Medical Marijuana laws. If you so concerned for helping the sick and elderly that would be an awesome first step, not to mention all the additional tax revenue generated by it.

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 5 months ago

Baldwin Dad shows his true colors again. What unconstitutional laws are you referring to? That you can't smoke pot? Guess what this is conservitive KS. That will never be allowed. You still can't buy alcohol in anything but a liquor store here.

Nathaniel ,

Thanks for posting some info that came out of the meeting. I was not able to attend because I was at work. Larger districts are bad news. Not only would Lawrence run our schools (a lot more voters) but that is the whole reason I came to Baldwin City so my child would not have to attend Lawrence schools.

As I posted in the Speak Out thread.

Terri Lois' only listed endorosment is Lynn Jenkins. Remember her.

I guess Terri is the 'great white hope'

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 5 months ago

Actually I was referring to the Health-care bill and hundreds of others laws that Congress passes and their Federal Courts uphold.

While you might want to try and demean my statements with innuendo's of me being a pothead or a smoker my issue with the allot of these laws are more on the basis of personal freedom and choice. What I do or put into my body is my choice alone as long as it hurts no one else.

The only reason (imho) that marijuana is still illegal is due to the money it MAKES the prison industrial complex in this country and it keeps all of us tied to large pharmaceutical companies for cures that can easily be obtained from a weed that would grow freely in your backyard with no real harm to anyone.

Also for the record I don't smoke, while I disagree with the law it's still the law of the land.

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Torch 3 years, 5 months ago

Brown is against high taxes yet voted to raise them. I'm sure he had a tear in his eye when he said that voting for it was such a hard decision... but he had no problem taking $300 million out of the pockets of Kansans right in the midst of a major recession when consumer spending is what we need to get us out of it. I gather he believes he knows what's best for our money.

Have any of you looked at a receipt lately to see how much you're paying? If you go to Wyandotte County (Legends for example) you are paying 9.525 percent.

So after all those witholding taxes are taken out and you look at the bottom line of your check just subtract 10 more percent off of it because virtually everything you buy has additional taxes levied against it.

Brown wants education funding. Yawn. No kidding. Using the kids to get what you want (elected in this case) is so boring and old. That is the least creative thing any candidate can say. But it works every time here in Baldwin - "It's for the kids!"

How much of the state budget goes to education now? It's over 50 percent. Seriously?

The problem with education in this state isn't the amount of money that is spent on it...it is the horrendous amount of waste...things like keeping a school open for 60 children for the sake of convenience to a handful of families. Things like selling the public that it is imperative to keep classroom size as low as possible (which has to do with jobs for teachers more than it does your child's ability to learn.) Day after day the educators demand more money yet continue to produce lackluster results. Let's pay for what we're getting...not for what we're being told we're getting. You get what you pay for? Not in the case of education.

And by the way...anyone heard about the State employees' retirement accounts running out of money in the coming decade? Where do you think they're going to get the funds to replenish that? Colorado?

This state is in trouble and the last thing we need is tax and spend politics like Brown and his ilk advocate.

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Peabody 3 years, 5 months ago

Torch,

It is easy to mock someone when you don't have to identify who you are. Anonymity breeds a certain level of bravado.

I have always been open about who I am on this forum and what I stand for. I have been willing to take a public stand for my beliefs. I do not regret that in any way.

You, unfortunately, have not been willing to say who you are, although your stances have been very clear and, many times, most times, acerbic.

Your decision to remain anonymous has led me to conclude you either lack conviction in your beliefs or you are a coward. Either way, you have lost credibility with me and, I suppose, other posters on this site.

I have repeatedly ask you to meet with me in person to discuss issues on which we disagree. You have never responded to my requests.

Although I realize it is probably futile, I extend another invitation to you to meet with me to discuss our differences on current state policy. I will make myself available to you at your convenience if you are willing to stand up in person for the beliefs about which you clearly feel so passionately.

Tony Brown State Representative, 10th District Baldwin City 702 First Street 594-2596

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 5 months ago

Tony, I have a question for you I would like to know where you stand on the privatization of our School system or something akin to school vouchers or the backpack approach where the funding follows the students.

Also I want to know why you would not support legislation that would protect Kansans from the over reaching and often unconstitutional laws of the Federal Govt?

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 5 months ago

Also Tony would you be willing to answer the Campaign For Liberty's survey. It appears that Terri has.

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=37294

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Peabody 3 years, 5 months ago

BaldwinDad,

I think "public" education means that it is, by definition, not private. I believe public education open to all citizens regardless of socioeconomic standing is one of the great innovations of the American system. Don't you agree that equal opportunity is a positive aspect of democracy?

If federal legislation is overreaching and unconstitutional, then that will determined by the court system. Because I am not an attorney, I would rather leave that determination up to that established precedent. Would you prefer that the State of Kansas circumvent the established legal process set by the United States Constitution?

I did not respond to the Campaign for LIberty's survey.

Tony

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 5 months ago

I agree with you Tony public education should be public so lets open it to PUBLIC competition and allow equal opportunity to all would compete to educate our children with our tax dollars.

This is what I indicated with my comments about voucher's and or the backpack system where the funding follows the child. I never indicated that we should cut or curtail public funding of schools, but it seems to me you are insinuating that my idea of trusting the parents with the decision on where their child goes to school is wrong because they might choose a private school rather then a Govt run one. This also indicates to me that you don't feel that parents are capable of making that decision only the state is, but yet you rely on those same parents to vote for you or Terri into office?? Seems to me that is a little hypocritical to me.

I also agree with you Tony that if Federal Legislation is UN-Constitutional then it should be repealed, but the part where we disagree on is how.

Do you believe that the Federal Govt whose is making these UN-constitutional laws should be trusted to monitor itself through it's own Federal courts. That imho is like asking one fox to stop the other fox that broke into your hen house.

It seems to me that you like so many other people have forgotten that the States are supposed to be our guard dogs protecting us from those foxes. This is the why we have a 10th amendment, while it might have been ignored in the past it is still a vital tool in reigning in our out of control Federal Govt. Also isn't the 10th amendment an established precedent that was used successfully in our Countries history, so why then is it any less viable now?

Any reason you refuse to answer those questions posed to you by Campaign for Liberty??

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