Democrats dismiss raising taxes during gubernatorial forum

by Stephan Bisaha, Kansas News Service

The Democrats running to be Kansas’ next governor brushed off the idea of a tax increase to cover the state’s needs during a Democratic forum in Wichita on Wednesday night sponsored by KMUW and KWCH.

State Sen. Laura Kelly said it’s too soon after repealing the Sam Brownback-era tax cuts to talk about a tax increase.

“We need to let the dust settle,” Kelly said. “We have no idea the full impact of that or the full impact of the federal tax cuts that have occurred.”

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was clear that he doesn’t support a tax increase.

“Tax increase is the last thing that we should even be looking at here in the state of Kansas,” Brewer said.

Former Kansas Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty went a step further by talking about a tax cut.

“I would advocate for lowering the sales tax on food,” Svaty said.

Brewer and Svaty agreed that the focus should instead be on increasing state revenue by improving the Kansas economy.

Jack Bergeson, one of the teenage candidates running for governor, spent much of the evening targeting Kelly and her running mate, Lynn Rogers, as the establishment ticket. Bergeson directed those who didn’t want to vote for him to vote for anyone on stage other than Kelly.

“If you care about health care reform in this state you should not vote for Laura Kelly and Lynn Rogers,” Bergeson said. “Regardless of who you vote for, the three other candidates are a much better choice.”

Health care reform was Olathe physician Arden Andersen’s topic of choice. He said that his experience in the medical field made him the most qualified for improving care and cost.

“We need to overhaul that system,” Andersen said. “We need people who actually have answers, not just guessing about what does or doesn’t work. I’m that person.”

The debate also focused on legalizing marijuana, gun safety, tariffs and how to win the election as a Democrat in Kansas.

Stephan Bisaha, based at KMUW in Wichita, is an education reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at
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Judge candidates to appear at forum July 18 at KCKCC

Business West, along with Kansas City Kansas Community College, will co-sponsor a Candidates’ Forum starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, in the Upper Jewell building at the Kansas City Kansas Community College 7250 State Ave.

Democratic candidates for District Judge who plan to attend are Mike Nichols, Tony Martinez and Jane Sieve Wilson.

Panelists who will ask the candidates questions will be Mary Rupert of the Wyandotte Daily Online, Jim Echols of Renaissance Management and Edgar Galicia of the Central Avenue Betterment Association.

Murrel Bland of Business West will be the moderator.


UG schedules budget workshop tonight

The Unified Government has scheduled several budget workshops, including one tonight.

The workshops:

• 5 p.m. Monday, July 16, UG Commission to set maximum mill levy, budget workshop, in fifth floor conference room, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas;
• 5 p.m. Thursday, July 19, budget workshop, fifth floor conference room, City Hall;
• Monday, July 23, budget workshop, immediately following the standing committee meetings that begin at 5 p.m., fifth floor conference room, City Hall;
• 5 p.m. Thursday, July 26, budget workshop, fifth floor conference room, City Hall;
• 5 p.m. Monday, July 30, budget workshop and final public hearing, Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall;
• 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, budget adoption, Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall.