Dale Walkup, Democrat, and Sheila Solon, Republican, are the candidates for the District 31 seat in the Missouri House.

Dale Walkup, Democrat, and Sheila Solon, Republican, are the candidates for the District 31 seat in the Missouri House.

1. What makes you the better representative for the Blue Springs community in Jefferson City?

I understand representative government. My opponent apparently does not or she would not have attempted to micro-manage the city of Blue Springs by introducing a bill that circumvented the City Council by requiring decisions on local trash providers to go to a vote of the people. Her rationale was “I wanted the people to have a voice.” The reality is that in a representative government, citizens elect others to “represent” them and make decisions accordingly. The City Council is charged with that responsibility. As a side note, there are those that believe the “thousands” of dollars that my opponent has received from trash companies might have influenced this legislation. And, by the way, the city of Blue Springs is the only city in the entire state that was affected by this bill. In addition, I am the only candidate that has operated multiple multimillion dollar businesses. I know what it takes to make a business run. I have been a job creator. Let’s create jobs and get Missouri’s economy flourishing again.

2. What is your position on Proposition B?

As a general rule, I oppose tax increases. However, this increase is a little different. It closes a 56 cent loophole that value brands don’t pay, but Big Tobacco does. This loophole was created by the National Tobacco Settlement in 1998. I understand that every state except Missouri has closed this loophole. Of the $283 million in estimated revenue, 50 percent would go to public education, 30 percent to higher education and 20 percent toward tobacco prevention programs. Conservatively speaking, the Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit school districts would receive about $2.2 million each annually, which is significant money.

3. What do you believe is the Missouri Legislature’s role on the issue of students transferring from unaccredited school districts to adjacent districts that are accredited?

The legislature feels that it has an obligation to educate the students. I can agree with this thinking. However, I disagree with my opponent’s position that they should be given vouchers and bused to outlying districts.

The Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit school districts have advocated outlying districts managing “pockets” of schools in the KCMO school district, allowing students to be able to stay in their own neighborhood to attend school. My opponent is on record at two Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfasts, one visit by our local Missouri State Teachers Association President and one visit by our local Missouri National Education Association’s Education Advocate of supporting the use of “passports/vouchers” to send students to the Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit school districts.

The legislature should be very careful and aware of how such a transfer would disrupt the culture of outlying districts. KCMO School District students should be given every opportunity to succeed in their own neighborhood.

4. What do you think should be done to address the state’s budget concerns? Should new taxes be created to provide additional sources of revenue?

Taxes should not be raised. One of the first things that I would do is work to address tax credits and get them under control. There are currently $650 million in tax credits on the books. This money comes right off the top of the budget before any of the appropriations process. Right now, the state spends more on tax credits than the top three expenditures combined.