Border issues — tax incentives meant to lure business across the state line into Kansas — are at the top of two candidates’ minds as they vie for the 36th District seat in the Missouri House.
With the south Kansas City district’s western border on the state line, both candidates mentioned border issues as concerns.
Democrat Kevin McManus is seeking his third term in the House. His challenger is Republican Nola Wood.
The district boundaries are roughly State Line Road to James A. Reed Road between Interstates 435/470 and Martha Truman Road.
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McManus sponsored legislation this year calling for a “cease-fire” between Missouri and Kansas on tax incentives that poach businesses from one side of the state line to the other.
McManus said the new law provides an opportunity for politicians to work together. Under the law, he said, Missouri will refrain from issuing such credits, but only if Kansas agrees to the same.
Wood, however, has doubts that Kansas will cooperate.
“They don’t have any reason to do that,” she said.
Instead, she said, Missouri needs to look at overall tax reform to eliminate what she called “annoyance issues,” such as a decision that things such as tennis classes charge sales tax.
The two differed on a recent bill to cut income taxes.
Wood said the bill was a small step in the right direction of keeping business and jobs in the state.
McManus called the bill “fiscally reckless,” despite delays and safeguards that its proponents put into place to keep the budget solvent.
“The delays are like a ticking time bomb,” he said, adding: “Most people who voted for it will not be in office” once the cuts actually begin.
Expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act was also a point of difference.
McManus considers Medicaid expansion a top priority, saying it would lead to $9.6 billion in economic development and cover 300,000 Missourians.
“It’s not only the fiscally smart thing to do, but the morally right thing to do,” he said.
Wood cited her experience in the insurance industry as a reason she does not support expansion.
“Medicaid needs to be reformed, not expanded,” she said.
However, she said she wants to study the issue more before offering specific alternatives.
Road funding is another sticky issue, since a sales tax proposal failed this year. Wood said the fact that people are choosing more fuel-efficient cars complicates things.
But she didn’t support a sales tax. Instead, she suggested a gas tax increase might be an option.
McManus said the income tax cut will also affect money for road repair, but other options for raising money will be hard to come by.
“At this point, I don’t see any clear answer.”
Address: Kansas City
Education: Law degree, St. Louis University; bachelor’s in government, University of Notre Dame
Previous public service: Missouri House, 2010-present
Address: Kansas City
Occupation: Insurance broker, Woody Financial Group Benefits
Education: Attended Wichita State University and Wichita Bible College
Previous public service: Member, governmental affairs committee, South Kansas City Alliance; joint governmental affairs committee of South KC Chamber of Commerce and Grandview Chamber of Commerce; former board member, Friends of Missouri Town.