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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • O'Brien, Fevurly face off for 42nd House seat

  • Harold Fevurly Jr. and Connie O’Brien are running for the 42nd District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.
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  • 1. What do you feel are the top issues facing the Kansas House of Representatives? Fevurly: Public school funding, property taxes, fair income taxes for all citizens, jobs. O’Brien: Jobs, budget and taxes. Kansas jobs and fiscal issues are still our first concern. We must continue to control spending and maintain a balanced budget. The pay-go rule adopted by House members in the 2012 legislative session helped us do that. Kansas needs to eliminate burdensome and counter productive taxes and regulations, and support policies that help, rather than hinder, private sector job creation. 2. What are some of the unique challenges for someone who represents the 42nd District? Fevurly: The 42nd district is a newly formed district with a mix of both rural and city households including three cities and five school districts and household incomes ranging from low income to the very highest incomes. Trying to find the balance with all is going to be hardest part. O’Brien: The new 42nd District is mostly rural and that suits me fine because I live in rural Tonganoxie and most of my neighbors are farmers. Some farm and work at other jobs to make ends meet. I’m looking forward to representing the interest of the folks in the cities of Eudora, Tonganoxie and Easton as well as the farm families in my district. 3. Why do you believe you're the best candidate for the 42nd District? Fevurly: After working for the state for 28.5 years and volunteering in Leavenworth County, I feel I have a good grasp of the needs and wishes of the 42nd District. I own and operate a farm in northern Leavenworth County. I know the hardships of farming. Having been on the school board and being the son of a former school teacher I know the importance of public schools. I will tell you though I don’t have all the answers but I am willing to work hard to find them. O’Brien: The 2012 legislature managed to control spending and cut taxes. For the first time in years Kansas balanced the budget and still managing to increase education funding by $43 million. Some legislators believe raising taxes is the only way to fund government. I believe in “Job Creation, Not Taxation.” Supporting policies that encourage private sector jobs will create new wealth and additional revenue for the state. 4. What should be the state government's approach for growing the Kansas economy? Fevurly: Cut property taxes, fund public schools, make income taxes fair for all citizens, new jobs. I feel by working on property taxes, schools and a balanced income tax the jobs will follow. O’Brien: There is only one way to effectively grow our Kansas economy. Lower the tax burden on small businesses and Kansas citizens. Working to eliminate the state income tax will move us in this direction. Other states that have eliminated their income tax have prospered and their state revenue has increased allowing them to fund critical state obligations like education, Medicaid and public safety, without resorting to tax increases. 5. What existing state laws, if any, would you like to see changed? Fevurly: Campain spending. O’Brien: Everyone should know that Kansas has a huge state bond indebtedness. Every day we pay $430,000, interest-only payments, on that debt. We, Kansas taxpayers, must pay interest only-payment on that debt for 25 years before we can begin to pay on the principal. This needs to change. 6. What new laws, if any, would you like to see passed? Fevurly: I would like to see total spending limits placed on campaigns and not allow funding from private interest groups. O’Brien: Kansas needs to offer in-state tuition to our veterans. Currently Kansas provides in-state tuition to persons who are in our country and state illegally but our veterans are denied the same consideration. That's wrong! 7. What changes, if any, should be made to the state's tax system? Fevurly: Lower property taxes , restore state income taxes to a fair level for all Kansans. O’Brien: We have begun the process of eliminating income taxes in Kansas. Starting in January every Kansas citizen will pay 14 percent less in state income tax. Small businesses will pay 22 percent less. This leaves much needed revenue in the hands of our citizens and small business owners. They will spend it on their needs and the economy will benefit. 8. Do you believe the state government provides adequate funding for public education? Please explain your answer. Fevurly: No. Funding needs to be restored to proper levels .The base aid per pupil dollar amount is $ 3,838 — that number is below 1999 levels. My opponent is going to tell you that the number is between $12-14,000, but what she fails to tell you is that those dollars can’t be spent on students. She is counting KPERS retirement dollars, special education flow-through dollars, federal food dollars, bond and interest and capital outlay dollars O’Brien: Currently 53 percent of all general revenue tax dollars goes for K-12 education. With higher education added in 66 percent of our general revenue funds goes for education. That’s 66 cents of every tax dollar going for education. With local and federal funds added Kansas schools currently receive an average of $12,628 per student for education. The average college tuition in Kansas is $8,000.

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