Patrick Davern, DFL, is challenging incumbent Republican Linda Runbeck in House District 38A.
Davern: My name is Patrick Davern and I am asking for your vote on Nov. 6 for the Minnesota House of Representatives in the new House District 38A.
I run to take what I have learned from my work and life experience and to try and make our community and Minnesota a better place to live.
I have 25 years of information technology, project and budget management experience.
I am a homeowner in Lino Lakes, graduate of Cretin High School, attended the University of Minnesota and have numerous technology accreditations as well as a background in both private and public sector employment.
Runbeck: Linda Runbeck is an experienced small business owner, corporate executive and elected representative.
After 17 years in the private sector, Linda was elected to the Minnesota Legislature and served from 1989-2000 as state representative and state senator, respectively.
She was elected again to the House in 2010.
Earlier, she served on the Circle Pines City Council.
After running for Congress in 2000, Linda was president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota from 2001-2004.
She served on the Northwest YMCA’s Advisory Board receiving its Distinguished Leader Award in 2007.
Currently, she is on the YMCA’s Chain of Lakes Advisory Board.
Linda was also development director at the Minnesota Free Market Institute.
Prior to holding office, Runbeck was director of advertising for County Seat Stores and vice president for hearing aid manufacturer, Dahlberg, Inc.
Later, she owned a Miracle-Ear hearing aid franchise.
A graduate of Bethel University, Linda and her husband, Rich, live in Circle Pines.
They are co-owners of Braham Monument Co. in Braham.
Their daughter, Britta, is a graduate of Centennial High School.
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?
Davern: By making sure we have continued low unemployment by offering employment incentives to small and medium size businesses.
But with these incentives, the taxpayers are guaranteed that job outsourcing does no go beyond the borders of Minnesota.
I believe that user fees are a fair way to tax the public to avoid adding any more pressure on the property tax for homeowners and business.
Raising property and business taxes must be the absolute last resort for government revenue generation.
All programs are on the table and must be reviewed for their maximum efficiency and ability to create and maintain the employment promised.
Runbeck: State tax revenues are projected to increase at 4-5 percent per year, down from the 8-9 percent per year in previous decades.
It’s important to bring government spending in line with expected revenue – which means the focus of legislators must be to streamline and slow the growth of government.
I do not believe we should raise taxes.
When new taxes or high rates of taxation are on the table, government reform goes out the window.
Minnesota needs to strive to re-establish that it’s a good state in which to grow jobs and expand businesses.
Recent rankings from the national Tax Foundation place Minnesota 13th highest in taxes.
On economic competitiveness, we are ranked 37th by various think tank organizations.
Job growth in Minnesota has been flat-lined for a decade, a sharp reversal from the 500,000 jobs created in the ‘90s.
I will work to move our economy forward and generate a pro-jobs agenda for our state by reducing corporate “welfare” subsidies, housing subsidies, too generous welfare entitlements and low value public works projects.
In addition, we should streamline state functions which are duplicative of county, city or school district and align public sector pensions and benefits with private sector.
3. Should the Minnesota Legislature increase state funding for K-12 education? If so, how? If not, why not?
Davern: We must restore the funding for K-12 education that was shifted away from to compensate for poor budget decisions by the previous administration.
In the future, education funding should be based on needs of the students to help them be productive and successful.
We, as state government, need to give more flexibility to districts that will result in continued quality education and the opportunity to reduce their operating budget.
Runbeck: As the Legislature did in the last budget, we need to re-prioritize how state government spends tax dollars.
The most important role the state has is in educating our youth – but it’s important to spend those dollars well.
Again, the challenge is to take a long look at how the state can provide good schools, good roads and good jobs – and make sure funds are adequate for those priorities.