5th Legislative District candidates answer questions
October 12, 2010
Voters in the 5th Legislative District will decide a pair of state House of Representatives races next month.
Republican incumbent Jay Rodne faces Democrat Gregory Hoover for the Position 1 seat. Incumbent Republican Glenn Anderson is running against Democrat David Spring in a rematch of the 2008 race for the Position 2 seat.
Here, the candidates discuss a variety of local and state issues in 25 words or fewer.
Government should be fiscally responsible. What does that mean to you?
Rodne: State government must live within its means and prioritize state services within existing revenues. There should be no tax increases.
Hoover: No more tax breaks for special interest groups. Cut tax exemptions under the B&O tax before taxing the general public.
Anderson: Government should live within the means of taxpayers it represents, balancing expenditures to revenues its taxpayers can afford. Government expenditures must provide clear outcomes.
Spring: Fiscally responsible to me means honoring our state Constitution’s requirement to fund our public schools before giving away billions of dollars in tax breaks to the richest corporations on our planet.
What are the biggest cost cuts you would make to help balance the state budget?
Rodne: Merely cutting programs is not the solution. We must first define our priorities as part of a comprehensive overhaul of our budgeting process.
Hoover: Cut special interest tax exemptions in the B&O tax. Cut government functions that are not necessary (example, Arts Commission). Also, combine areas of the government.
Anderson: The state’s budget deficits are extraordinary. To avoid a California-style meltdown will require almost everything to be cut. Social services will require very deep reforms.
Spring: Roll back corporate tax breaks to balance budget. Insist any corporation receiving tax breaks use the money to keep jobs instead of shipping them overseas.
What are the top two taxes you would consider to balance the state budget?
Rodne: I would not consider any taxes to balance the state budget. We must not raise taxes as this would only hurt small businesses and struggling families. We must adopt a priorities based budget and live within our means.
Hoover: Value-added tax (in lieu of the sales tax) and a single payment business tax (in lieu of the B&O tax).
Anderson: None. The state budget must be balanced with no new taxes. The state corporate tax system should be reformed to encourage private sector job growth.
Spring: We can get all the money we need simply by rolling back some of the billions of dollars in tax breaks for multinational corporations my opponent has passed in the past 10 years.
What steps will your own legislative office take to cut costs for the state?
Rodne: I have reduced my office’s administrative overhead by reducing the number of mailings and by instead communicating via e-mail updates and telephone town halls.
Hoover: I will demand we put all the tax exemptions on the table. It’s been too long that special exemptions have gone unnoticed.
Anderson: My office is committed to using information technologies and eliminating as much paper as possible, while assuring high quality public access to my office.
Spring: I’ll go through the state budget line by line and not just reduce, but eliminate, any state programs which have no benefit to the taxpayers.
What can Washington do to attract businesses to expand or relocate here? Be specific.
Rodne: Reform our L&I system by allowing competition from the private sector. Reduce worker’s compensation rates, reduce unemployment compensation rates and provide for B&O tax reform.
Hoover: Continue to not have a state income tax, and create a more business friendly tax system that is profitable for small- and medium-size businesses.
Anderson: We must be aggressively competitive in a global economy. We must drive greater productivity from our port districts, university R&D centers and advanced manufacturing sectors.
Spring: As a former successful small business owner, I know that the vast majority of new jobs are created by small businesses.
What, if anything, can the state do to spur job creation?
Rodne: Please see response to previous question. Also, we must streamline our permitting process so that major construction projects can be approved quicker.
Hoover: We have the No. 1 medical school in the nation. Use that to attract businesses in the medical field to open/expand operations in Washington state.
Anderson: Fair labor rules, natural environment protection and a just social safety net are essential. Regulations to support these should not undermine private sector job creation.
Spring: As I said above, we need to support small businesses and make sure they have a level playing field.
What adjustments would you make to the state’s minimum wage laws?
Rodne: I support a lower minimum wage for teen workers who are working part-time while living at home and going to school.
Hoover: Make the state’s minimum wage closer to what it cost to live in this state. Currently, minimum wage is not a livable wage.
Anderson: Exemptions for community service nonprofit programs should be expanded and a lower training wage enacted for entry-level jobs for young adults.
Spring: Lowering the minimum wage would harm the economy buy reducing the buying power of our poor and middle class.
What specific human services programs should be protected as the state tackles its budget shortfall?
Rodne: Birth-to-3 early intervention programs, early childhood assistance programs and children’s health insurance programs (Apple Health for Kids).
Hoover: Education, healthcare, public safety and transportation. In that order.
Anderson: Programs that support the developmentally disabled should be protected, as well as programs for at-risk youth that are evidence-based and proven.
Spring: We should instead insist that major corporations pay their fair share so that 10,000 children do not have to be tossed out on the street.
What will you do to help community nonprofits secure funding for human services?
Rodne: Engage in discussion in Olympia about priorities as part of a “priorities of government” conversation. We must fund priorities within existing revenues without tax increases.
Hoover: Work closely with the leaders of the nonprofits to find out what their needs are, and try to enact it into legislation.
Anderson: I try to help community nonprofits find the best “value proposition” for potential public-private sector funders and encourage them to collaborate to maximize scarce resources.
Spring: I’ve worked for/with nonprofit corporations and think many provide important services. But we should be careful about giving away precious taxpayer dollars to private corporations.
What is the top environmental concern in the 5th Legislative District and how do you plan to address the issue?
Rodne: Maintaining adequate state funding for parks, trails and restoration projects. Olympia must have discussion about priorities and then adequately fund our priorities within existing revenues.
Hoover: The lack of “green” energy jobs. By using union labor to build and install/maintain wind turbines in the North Bend/Snoqualmie Pass area.
Anderson: Stronger recycling efforts need to be made at all levels. We should protect our wildlife ecosystem, without undermining property rights, to enhance quality of life.
Spring: I was on the King County Middle Fork Commission in the 1990s, and created a comprehensive plan to control flooding of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.
What is the best way to fund and upgrade state parks?
Rodne: We must prioritize as part of a larger “priorities of government” budget discussion. We must then allocate funding based on these priorities within existing revenues.
Hoover: Use the fees park users pay to reinvest in the parks.
Anderson: It should be made easier for local communities and user groups to provide financial support to maintain state parks, in addition to basic state funding.
Spring: I am opposed to user fees as this is simply another hidden tax on our poor and middle class.
How can the public education system be improved, given the funding constraints?
Rodne: The Legislature must pass our reform legislation entitled Fund Education First, which would prioritize adequate and sustainable K-12 funding before passing any other budget item.
Hoover: Place a larger emphasis on early learning and use the Advancement Via Individual Determination system, a.k.a. AVID.
Anderson: Enact my Fund Education First initiative requiring a dedicated K-12 basic education budget to be passed and adequately funded before any other state spending.
Spring: Restore school funding and lower class sizes to the national average by rolling back billions in corporate tax breaks passed in the past 10 years.
What can you do as a lawmaker to help Bellevue College open a campus in Issaquah?
Rodne: Work with the entire Eastside delegation in Olympia to help secure capital budget funding.
Hoover: Promote Issaquah’s unrivaled serene beauty. Outdoor activities are available for all seasons, and close proximity to Seattle’s urban scene makes an ideal place to live/study.
Anderson: A Bellevue College campus is a great opportunity for our community. I’ll work to assure the project doesn’t get hung up in bureaucratic red tape.
Spring: I’ll work day and night to secure funding for a Bellevue College campus not only in Issaquah, but also in North Bend and Maple Valley.
How do you or will you foster bipartisanship in Olympia?
Rodne: I am willing to work with anyone regardless of party affiliation if they share my commitment to fiscal responsibility, common sense, and integrity.
Hoover: By keeping an open mind and taking everyone’s viewpoint seriously.
Anderson: I emphasize being respectful of other legislators’ personalities/priorities of their legislative districts to find common ground. I try to be well informed, fair-minded and principled.
Spring: I’ll reach out to anyone from either political party who’s actually willing to roll back corporate welfare so we can restore funding for public schools.
What is your position on state income tax Initiative 1098 on the November ballot?
Rodne: I am opposed. Imposing a state income tax would be devastating to small businesses and families. It is the absolute wrong approach.
Anderson: Opposed. Without spending reforms and clear priorities of government the money will fund more of the same failed outcomes and discourage private-sector job creation.
Spring: I-1098 will save 10,000 teacher jobs and protect 1 million children’s futures. It’ll also end the harmful B&O tax for 80 percent of small businesses.
Is this the right time for the state to get out of the liquor business? Why or why not?
Rodne: Yes. Distributing alcohol isn’t an essential service — Washington’s liquor monopoly is antiquated. The state will save approximately $300 million a biennium by privatizing sales.
Hoover: No. A recent FBI study said states that don’t have control of their sales see a dramatic increase in minors who possess alcohol.
Anderson: Yes. Privatizing state liquor sales is a good example of a service that would save the state taxpayers money.
Spring: It’ll cost our state hundreds of millions in revenue — leading to the firing of thousands of teachers. It’ll greatly increase drunken driving/auto accidents.
Should the state be challenging federal healthcare legislation?
Rodne: I believe that the legal challenge by a number of state attorneys general to the federal health care bill raises important questions about whether the federal government has exceeded is authority.
Anderson: Yes. The federal mandate forcing citizens to purchase a private good and subject to the police power of the IRS threatens to our basic freedoms.
Spring: While I think the federal health care bill goes in the wrong direction I also think it is a mistake to challenge it in court as a court challenge is a waste of precious taxpayer dollars.
What can Washington do to make prescription drugs more affordable?
Rodne: This is largely a matter of federal Medicare/Medicaid and health insurance reform. However, Washington can help to create an economic climate that promotes market entry, competition and consumer choice.
Hoover: Better and more accessible healthcare coverage with prescription drug coverage.
Anderson: Not much. This is primarily driven by federal government healthcare policy.
Spring: We can and should end monopolies of large drug manufacturers.