Saturday, October 30, 2004
Budget key in 30th District
Newcomer Thompson challenges Seitz
By Kevin Aldridge
Enquirer staff writer
Democrat Ann Thompson will take her first crack at political office Tuesday by trying to unseat Republican incumbent Bill Seitz in a race for a statehouse seat from Ohio's 30th District.
Thompson, 68, of White Oak, said fixing the state's budget and revising the way public schools are funded would be her top priorities.
Thompson said she would find ways to solve the problems without raising taxes, and said legislators need to explore ways to reduce spending.
"With the current one-party rule (Republican) in the statehouse, we have the fox watching the hen house," Thompson said. "They are getting away with all kinds of things that the people don't know about and it's our money they are wasting."
Thompson said she wants to create a new system of performance budgeting and performance audits for each state agency. She also said legislators should close "corporate and jet-set" loopholes. Thompson said she would like to prohibit state government from contracting with or offering assistance to corporations that move offshore in order to avoid their fair share of state tax.
Seitz, 49, of Green Township, is serving his second two-year term as state representative. Seitz agrees that the state's budget woes are a priority; that's why he's pushing for a ballot measure that would allow video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven horse tracks, including River Downs in Anderson Township and the Lebanon Raceway.
"We have to work very hard to try to avoid extending the temporary sales tax," Seitz said. "Except for Kentucky, we are surrounded by states that allow some form of casino gambling. This could stem the outflow of that money."
Seitz said legislators need to wring savings from departmental consolidation, privatization where appropriate, and civil service/collective bargaining law changes. He also said the state should promote group purchasing plans for government employees to buy long-term care insurance.
Thompson said public school funding remains a key issue. She said legislators should invest money in the state, creating a steady stream of income for schools rather than "begging for bond issues."
"I believe school funding should be a given in the state budget," Thompson said. "The greatest country in the world should not have to beg for money for schools."
Seitz said his opponent has been critical of giving tax break to corporations, but noted sometimes they are needed. Seitz said he was proud of the tax incentive package he supported that kept DHL Airlines and 5,000 jobs in Wilmington rather than relocating to Northern Kentucky.
"That is an example of where they can serve a very valuable purpose," Seitz said
The 30th district includes the city of Harrison and Delhi, Green, Harrison, Miami and Whitewater townships.
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