Anthony Brown discusses campaign issues
Anthony R. Brown
Web site: www.repanthonybrown.com
Occupation: Construction and Real Estate Development
What in your personal or professional background makes you the person for the 38th District?
I have lived in this area for my whole life and do not plan on leaving the area. This is my home because I choose to be here. I am not looking for a better opportunity anywhere else. This area is in every fiber of my body and I deeply care about the progress and future of this district. I am a business owner and when the economy is slow, our family feels the crunch too. I want desperately to make this the single best place not only to do business but to raise a family.
My wife and I have five kids attending public schools and we want to make sure they have the best education experience possible. Being a former teacher, I know the demands on educators and understand their needs. I strive to find a balance between what we demand from government and what we can afford.
Should there be a statewide ban on smoking in indoor public places, such as restaurants and bars?
No. I believe that should best decided by cities and their chambers of commerce and not the state of Kansas. If there is a statewide ban, it should include all businesses, including casinos. There is no reason these entertainment businesses should be treated any differently than our current tax paying businesses that we already have.
Would you support an increase in the cigarette tax to help pay for health coverage for low-income Kansans?
No. The tax bill that addressed this last session would only have raised the taxes on a pack of cigarettes to about $4 a pack and to fully pay and offset the cost of smoking in health care it was estimated the tax would have to be $7 a pack. So this was just another way to increase taxes and not address the problem of health care in Kansas. I favor free market solutions as opposed to government solutions in health care. For example, health savings accounts and more choices in insurance coverage would help lessen the number of Kansans not covered by insurance. Also this tax is very regressive. In other words, it taxes the people who can least afford it. The money that would have been raised in last session’s bill, would have went straight to the general fund and not set aside for health coverage for low income families.
Where do you think the state budget can be cut?
I would first cut the legislative budget and the governor’s budget and then start to look into the Kansas Department of Labor and start downsizing the Kansas Department of Revenue. The Kansas Department of Wild Life and Parks owns a great deal of property, and I would like to see this property returned to the tax rolls and therefore reducing its obligations to maintain the property.
Would you support an increase in the age for Kansans to get a driver's license?
No. Even though our local community is becoming more suburban/urban, Kansas is still a predominately rural state. A lot of young people play an important role in the transportation of goods from the farm to market. I do not want to in anyway inhibit this practice and create a hardship on our already struggling family farms.
Should Lawrence be allowed to keep its same-sex registry without interference from the state?
No. After hearing both sides of this argument in committee, it is clear that this is a direct attempt to challenge the recently passed Kansas Constitutional Amendment on Marriage. Douglas County was the only county in the state that did not pass the marriage amendment and should not be allowed decide marriage law that is a state issue.
Do you support Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' opposition to the two coal-fired plants in western Kansas?
No. With energy prices in Kansas raising near 30 percent in the last couple of years, it is time for Kansas to focus on a broad based energy policy, which includes wind, solar, clean coal and even nuclear. The Holcomb Plant in western Kansas would have created more than 2,000 jobs and brought in $2.2 billion in investments to the state of Kansas. One of the arguments was that the energy was going to be exported, and we were left with the carbon emissions here, but we say nothing to the airplane industry or all the agricultural products we produce here and export. Furthermore, I can step out my back door and see the stacks of one of the dirtiest coal plants in Kansas located in Lawrence and again nothing is mentioned when we continue to renew its permits. I would have rather seen Kansas build cutting-edge clean coal generation plants and phase out some of our older coal plants.
The state 10-year, $13.2 billion comprehensive transportation plan will expire next year. Do you favor the Legislature developing another comprehensive long-term package or should the state change its approach to transportation planning?
I believe our transportation will change drastically in the next 10 years. We may be approaching more public transportation like extensive bus routes and light rail in Kansas. The funding mechanism is outdated and becoming obsolete because it is funded out of the gallonage tax on motor fuels. With new cars and technology that reduces gas consumption and likewise reduces revenue, I do not believe raising the gas tax is wise or popular. Therefore I do not believe that will be done.
I think we will look at more user pay types of funding like toll roads and fees associated with heavy truck loads. I do not, however, feel it is wise to increase our bond indebtedness to pay for another long-term plan without paying off the current transportation package. The state of Kansas will fund a shorter term, less aggressive, transportation package and pay as we go instead of the long term commitment we had obligated our taxpayers to pay off.