Topeka Capital Journal: Candidate Questionnaire

Why are you seeking the nomination for governor?

I am a CPA and a businessman. Because of these qualifications Kansans readily chose me to be their Insurance Commissioner four years ago, in my first statewide elected position.

Over the last four years I have proven that government can be more efficient and far more productive. Government can be run in a more businesslike manner, saving tax dollars for everyone.

I am a candidate for Governor because I have the right tools for what Kansas needs right now. My financial and business background have enabled me to bring good business practices to an important state government department. We will do the same for the broader state government.

What do you think about Kansas lowering (2012) and raising (2017) the state income taxes while hiking the sales tax rate (2015)?

The tax decreases and subsequent multiple increases have occurred because of the irresponsible management of our state budget. A governor needs to have the discipline to cut expenses when he sharply cuts revenues.

Brownback and Colyer obviously didn’t have this discipline. We have had a poorly managed budget since, resulting in sharp tax increases that in total are far greater than the tax decreases in 2012.

We need to think about the future of Kansas, not the quick, short-term political points that can be made by sharply cutting taxes without some corresponding expense cuts.

Do you believe the $525 million, five-year school finance plan adopted by the 2018 Legislature complies with the Kansas Constitution?

The next governor needs to demand more accountability throughout the educational system, from early childhood education to K-12, to the tech/community college/university system, to job retraining. All need better alignment with their local business communities (even early childhood education so more kids come to kindergarten reading ready) so they produce graduates that better match local needs.

The Kansas Supreme Court will rule on the adequacy of funding. This should be the responsibility of the elected legislature. I will support a constitutional amendment to make this responsibility clear, so that the endless and costly school litigation can end.

We will demand more accountability and better aligned of school output with the needs of our local communities.

Is it necessary for legislators and Kansas voters to amend the state constitution to limit power of the judicial branch to dictate levels of state aid to public school districts?

A constitutional amendment is needed to end the litigation that has continued for decades. This litigation is unproductive and costly.

Why should, or why shouldn’t, the state government in Kansas expand eligibility for Medicaid? If expanded, do you support work or training requirements for “able-bodied” recipients?

I would STRONGLY PREFER to NOT expand Medicaid. The federal budget is awash in red ink because of Medicaid and most state government budgets are out of control for the same reason.

I don’t see a reason to put Kansas in a similar position when the expansion would be taking almost half of the newly covered individuals from the private market. Further, almost all of the newly covered individuals are able bodied working age adults.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being diverted from the state’s highway program to support the government’s base budget. How is this appropriate or not?

It’s not appropriate to sweep funds like Brownback and Colyer have done. It is the result of a grossly mismanaged budget under their watch. It will take us years to recover.

In what ways should Kansas firearm laws be modified to address violent crime?

We need to be tough on crime. We will always be tough on crime.

How would you reform state law regarding availability of abortion services?

I am rock solid on Pro-life issues.

Is it necessary for Kansas to follow other states with term limits for House and Senate members? If so, what do you propose? If not, why not?

Yes, term limits are appropriate. Eight years in the House and eight years in the senate or a combination of 12 years in total seems to work exceptionally well in other states.

How would you improve annual public reporting on the results from large state tax breaks awarded companies that move a business to Kansas or promise to remain and increase jobs?

We need economic incentives that make sense for Kansans. Bringing 60 jobs four miles across the state line on the same day that 280 well paying jobs are moved out of our state makes no economic sense.

We can and will ask for more reporting and accountability in our economic incentive programs, including a more intelligent and accurate return on investment analysis on the front end of projects.

We will analyze our economic incentive programs from top to bottom to see if we can make them more competitive with other surrounding states, add far better transparency requirements and controls, and a add more intelligent return on taxpayer investment analysis to the programs.

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