Mid-Missouri’s state Senate race, and three House races, are contested in the Nov. 3 general election.
In the Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. Caleb Rowden faces Democrat Judy Baker. In the House races, incumbent Republican Rep. Chuck Basye faces Democrat Adrian Plank; incumbent Republican Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch faces Democrat Jacque Sample; and Republican Rep. Sara Walsh faces Democrat Kari Chesney.
In an effort to help voters make an informed decision, the Missourian sent each candidate a questionnaire asking for their thoughts on several issues relevant to area residents. Some of those questions were submitted by readers. Over the next several days, answers to a different question will be published each day. Answers are provided in the candidate’s words, but each was given a 150-word limit, and edits were made if the replies exceeded this.
Here are their answers to the following question:
State income is down because of the pandemic. What immediate steps do you support to either cut spending or increase state revenue?
State Senate District 19
Caleb Rowden, R: The legislature does not have the constitutional authority to increase revenue without Missouri voters’ approval. I’ve worked incredibly hard to keep taxes low for every Missouri family while funding critical priorities like schools and transportation. I do not support increasing taxes on Missourians — especially during this challenging period. I will lead the fight to bring people together to find the path to beat this virus and work toward restoring job losses and creating new jobs that will bring new dollars into the state coffers the right way (economic growth) and not the easy way (tax increases).
Judy Baker, D: The General Assembly should prioritize increasing revenue before cutting any vital state programs, including public education and health care. We need to immediately authorize the Wayfair tax to help local governments raise more revenue themselves, which has been previously proposed and enjoys wide support. We also need to roll back the tax cuts passed under the leadership of my Republican opponent that primarily benefit wealthy corporate interests and the very richest Missourians.
Luckily, voters passed Medicaid expansion, which will bring additional federal money into the state and grow the pie with new jobs. I want to ensure we get it implemented as soon as possible and not wait until July. We also need to make sure — all of us, Democrats and Republicans — that the federal dollars promised to Missouri through the CARES Act, as well as any further relief from the federal government, actually make it to Missouri.
State House District 44
Cheri Toalson Reisch, R: No reply.
Jacque Sample, D: I would support taxing internet sales to increase revenue for our state. This is long overdue and very much needed.
State House District 47
Chuck Basye, R: I strongly believe we should open up our economy completely using safeguards currently in place. Let Missouri citizens decide what is best for their own personal situation.
Adrian Plank, D: First bipartisan step is to tax online purchases.
State House District 50
Sara Walsh, R: The governor has already announced the immediate action of withholds in the current year’s budget. I serve on the House Budget Committee and chair the subcommittee on appropriations for the departments of public safety, transportation, revenue and corrections. The process in setting next year’s budget is that the House Budget Committee will hear testimony beginning in January from all state departments with regards to their budget requests and expenditures, including anticipated revenues, to get a detailed assessment of the situation. Both the pandemic and recent passage of Medicaid expansion will be a large part of the conversation as we discuss the supplemental budget (changes to the current year’s budget) and plan for next year. I don’t support arbitrary cuts. As always I will work closely with the House budget chair and the four departments to try to continue as many existing services while planning for any additional cuts that might be necessary.
Kari Chesney, D: We need to take a hard look at what the responsibility is of our state government and whether their main job is to provide benefits for large companies or support their communities. I would restructure our state tax code to ensure our companies, which rely on our roads for transport of goods, our education for an intelligent work force and so much more, are paying their far share. I also support the “Wayfair” tax — which would charge sales tax back to Missouri for online purchases. This would vastly increase our state revenue while also supporting Main Street shops which must charge sales tax in their establishments.