DFLer John Hoffman, Anoka-Hennepin School Board member, is opposing Republican Sen. Benjamin Kruse in Senate District 36. Kruse did not respond to the questionnaire.
Hoffman: I am married to Yvette, my wife of 19 years, and together we are raising our 15-year-old daughter Hope, a student at Champlin Park High School.
We have lived in Champlin for the past 12 years.
I received my bachelor’s degree from St. Mary College.
I am the vice chairperson of the Anoka-Hennepin School Board, the largest employer in Anoka County.
For the past five years I have been the marketing and public relations director for Midway Training Services, a nonprofit business specializing in finding employment for adults with disabilities.
I am a real business owner and jobs creator, having co-founded Consumer Credit of Minnesota in 2004, a business dedicated to working with individuals, families and small businesses in financial difficulty.
Earlier in my professional life I worked for the Department of Human Services doing compliance for federal early childhood programs.
I have served on numerous local, state and federal commissions and advisory boards.
I will mention a couple. Champlin Mayor Steve Boynton appointed me to the Northwest Hennepin County Human Services Advisory Board.
I was appointed by former Congressman Jim Ramstad to his Education Advisory Committee. I am chairperson of the Midway Chamber Ambassador Committee.
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?
Hoffman: We must take a fair and balanced approach and be consensus makers.
If the Legislature commits to working together we can do this.
It has to be a combination of finding additional revenue, redirecting money already being spent and cutting unnecessary spending.
I don’t look at income taxes only or first. I look at all of the taxes and fees we pay in this state.
I would immediately raise $400 million a year in requiring out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax just like Minnesota businesses do. This helps level the competitive playing field, too.
The program I would cut is the $450 million a year we give to foreign operating corporations to create jobs overseas.
I would redirect that money to small businesses creating jobs here in Minnesota.
This would boost our state revenue through the creation of good paying jobs here at home.
As a real business owner, I see firsthand every day how businesses and our own communities would benefit from these two specific changes.
Need, effectiveness, efficiency and fairness must define state programs.
I will insist on lean effective state programs, just as I have on the school board.
3. Should the Minnesota Legislature increase state funding for K-12 education? If so, how? If not, why not?
Hoffman: Again, this discussion must begin with looking at what money is supposed to already be in the system.
First, I will insist on a plan to pay our schools back the already allocated $2.2 billion that the Legislature shifted/didn’t pay in the last several sessions.
In the Anoka-Hennepin School District I led a program to recover payments for services rendered by the district to special needs students that is now producing $1.6 million a year in additional revenue.
I have supported the school trust lands legislation of Rep. Denise Dittrich for years now and will see to it that those monies are recovered for Minnesota schools.
Efficiencies matter. Public schools are committed and constitutionally required to educate every student.
The cost of educating a student and especially special needs students, has gone up.
School funding must keep pace with the expectations for our graduates in a 21st century world and I will be a voice people can count on and will end these budgeting gimmicks used by my opponent and the Legislature.
I will also work to restore the $351 million my opponent cut from higher education. This is where I will start.