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Holland Lays Out Goals and Actions to Create Jobs, Repair Economy


Location: Unknown

The following are remarks as prepared for delivery by Tom Holland, candidate for Kansas Governor:

"Last week, Sam Brownback came back to Kansas to tout his "Roadmap". I guess after 16 years, it's no surprise Senator Brownback needs a roadmap; he went to Washington and forgot where he came from.

"But a plan must be more than a set of common goals; it must be a series of actions to achieve these goals. Those actions must be made clear, so that elected leaders can be held accountable.

"That's why the Holland/Kultala team is offering the clear path, the better path and the right path for Kansas.

"If elected, we will:

1. Create jobs by continuing to invest in education and workforce training.
2. We will manage the budget so that public safety and services for our most vulnerable Kansans are never put in jeopardy
3. And we will make government more efficient, transparent and responsive to Kansans.

"And here are just some of our ideas of how we'll do it:

"Companies want to locate in states where the workforce is trained, and the schools are good. So we will invest in our public schools and technical training programs.

"We will pay for the new investments in technical training by using Economic Development Initiative Funds -- this is money that already exists, and is generated by the Kansas Lottery. Currently this money is primarily used for incentives and financial bonds to attract companies.

"We will work with the legislature to make it possible to use these funds for direct support to training centers as well as scholarships for prospective students.

"This won't be an unprecedented use of these funds -- in fact, there is some money already being used for technical training and research in the aviation industry. But times have changed. Our focus must expand to new industries and new fields if our state is to remain competitive.

"By making similar investments in fields poised for growth -- renewable energy, the biosciences, engineering, health care specialists and new forms of manufacturing -- we will prepare the workforce needed to make Kansas attractive to these industries.

"Meanwhile, in the area of public education, my opponent talks about wanting to "change" the school finance formula -- but he won't say how.

"That sort of ambiguity should raise some red flags.

"Since first arriving in Washington 16 years ago, Sam Brownback has attempted to abolish the Department of Education, been a champion of private school vouchers and voted for the most significant unfunded mandate of our time -- No Child Left Behind.

"By refusing to say what he would do, we can only conclude that he would push this same extreme agenda in Kansas. Already he's suggested we go back to the finance formula from the 1990s, which included significantly higher local property taxes and guaranteed litigation. We cannot prepare our children for the future by reliving the mistakes of the past.

"Meanwhile, the Holland / Kultala plan for schools is clear. We will pay for continued investments in our public schools, colleges and universities with the increased revenues that are generated by a recovering economy and repealing ineffective tax exemptions. There's no reason we should be giving tax breaks to out-of-state organizations while our schools are struggling.

"We will also support raising the Local Option Budget to a level that we can sustain while still meeting our constitutional obligation to equalize opportunities for all Kansas children to succeed.

"And we will stand firm in opposing school vouchers. We cannot make public schools better by taking away their resources and giving them to private institutions where we have no accountability and no control.

"We will also protect public safety programs and services for our most vulnerable by making sure that we're never in this budget situation again. We'll do this by taking up an idea that had bi-partisan support this past session, but was derailed by Republican Leadership in the House. We will create a "Rainy Day Fund" where 1 percent of revenue will go into the fund if there is a surplus of more than 3 percent. This fund will be a lock box. The money won't be spent unless revenues are declining.

"To give credit where credit's due -- this was a proposal first put forward by Senators Vratil and Kelly. I was disappointed that partisanship in the House prevented this legislation from moving forward this past year. If we expect families to save for a rainy day, the state should do the same.

"And finally, we will make government more efficient, transparent and responsive to Kansans, by consolidating computer and IT hardware, software and services.

"Right now, any Kansan can get on line and see how much money the state is spending, how much elected officials are being paid, and how much any piece of legislation is expected to cost. But they have to go to a half dozen places to get this information. That means there are multiple IT centers, multiple services, and redundant work being done across Kansas. We need to streamline this, simplify this and make it easier for Kansans to navigate.

"By accomplishing these goals, by following these steps our economy will improve, our students will succeed, government will be held more accountable and all Kansans will prosper.

"Thank you."

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