Incumbent Republican Tom Hackbarth is facing Louise Woodberry, DFL in House District 31B.
Hackbarth: Tom Hackbarth, married, three children; Retired, auto parts sales; former small business owner; North Hennepin Community College; volunteer firefighter, Oak Grove Fire Department; serving my eighth term in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Woodberry: Louise Fay Woodberry is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 31B and will “listen to the people of the district and work for a better tomorrow for all Minnesota.”
Louise grew up on a small farm near Howard Lake, was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated with honors from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter with majors in biology and chemistry. She married her husband, Thurman, in 1984. The family, which includes three sons, Jared, Jason and Joshua, moved to Oak Grove in 1995; all three sons graduated from St. Francis High School. Louise is an active member and elder at Presbyterian Church of the Master in Coon Rapids.
Louise worked as a medical technologist in the laboratory at Metropolitan Medical Center until it closed and then worked at the University of Minnesota Medical Center which later merged with Fairview Health Services.
Woodberry is employed full time with Fairview, working in the information technology department supporting a number of the hospital’s computer applications.
Louise went to her first caucus meeting in 2008 and was an election judge in Oak Grove for the last two general elections.
2. How should the Minnesota Legislature address future budget deficits – raise taxes, cut spending or both? What taxes should be raised? What programs should be cut?
Hackbarth: Families in Minnesota are struggling to stay in their homes, buy gas to get to work and put food on the table.
This is not the time for government to add to that burden by taking more money out of their wallets.
Every year the state of Minnesota brings in more money than the previous year without raising taxes. And, every year the government spends all of that money, including the increased revenue.
The Legislature needs to cut into the base funding of these agencies across the board. Every budget balancing year, the Legislature has only reduced projected increases, but still gives increases.
Now is the time to finally stop building the already too big bureaucracy.
Woodberry: Budget deficits should be addressed by a combination of spending cuts and increased revenue through income tax modifications.
I support modifying the tax code and closing loopholes so all Minnesotans pay equally for the services that are important. We should drastically reduce allowable subtractions and deductions for foreign operating corporations and foreign royalty earnings.
I oppose any constitutional amendments requiring a “super majority” to pass a tax increase.
A large portion of the Minnesota general fund goes to health and human services. Health care reform in Minnesota, which results in affordable health care for more Minnesotans and works to contain unsustainable cost increases, would go a long way in reducing health care costs.
All government programs should be evaluated for duplication of services and streamlined wherever possible.
We ended the 2012 legislative session with a $1.1 billion shortfall projected for the next budget cycle.
We cannot continue to balance the budget through shifts and borrowing from the reserve and other funds.
3. Should the Minnesota Legislature increase state funding for K-12 education? If so, how? If not, why not?
Hackbarth: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives, along with the Republican-controlled Senate, added $50 per pupil to the formula last session.
That’s a huge increase and more than Democrats ever thought about adding to K-12 education.
Democrat Governor Mark Dayton wanted to not pay back the notorious “shift” as fast as the Republicans did.
The Republicans prevailed. Democrats and Education Minnesota need to stop lying to the people of Minnesota.
Republicans do fund our states constitutional commitment to K-12 education.
Woodberry: Yes, state funding should be increased for education, not only K-12 but also early education and higher education.
We should fund early education so our children are prepared when they enter kindergarten.
The University of Minnesota regents have committed to not raising tuition if the state comes through to return state funding to 2001 levels.
Education is the foundation for a productive, fulfilling life and therefore, Minnesota should supply equitable, sustainable, predictable and sufficient funding for public schools.
Designated education funds should not be borrowed to balance the budget.
The priority of the next legislative session should be the pay back of the debt owed to the educational system.
Teachers can’t do it all on their own, we need to get the parents and guardians of our children to be engaged and present in their children’s education.
All government spending should be evaluated and prioritized with essential services like education being funded first. We should collect sales tax on online purchases.