Seng: Education - increased funding of teacher's salaries to complete nationally in attracting and retaining the best teachers. Health care - work toward health-care coverage for all Iowans, especially young people with expansion of the HAWK-I program. Economic development - programs or incentives that will give the competitive edge for keeping and attracting new businesses.
Wittstruck: Education - vouchers. Taxes - put a lid on them. Prescription-drug prices - require pharmacies to post prices.
Differentiate yourself from your opponent(s) on three issues you think are important that you also expect your governmental body to consider during your term.
Ryan: I support property-tax limitation. Seng has already as a Davenport alderman voted a 0.67 percent tax increase, and in the Quad-City Times on May 30 stated he would favor changing the residential rollback to further increase residential property tax. I also support general tax relief. Seng - tax. Ryan - cut, less government.
Seng: Property taxes - I believe the authority on property taxes should be left to local governments. I am not for raising taxes, but I am not for freezing them, either. If you freeze and have a downturn in the economy and state income and sales taxes decrease, then you have frozen the property tax that could have been the buffer to get our cities through rough economic times. Tax on Internet - It is important to me not to continue the unfair competition from out-of-state companies due to the lack of sales tax on these goods. Pseudorabies eradication legislation - As a veterinarian, I think it's important to take stronger measures on infected counties.
Wittstruck: Education - require results rather than demanding social programs from teachers. Stop throwing money at a loosing system! Limit income tax to a fixed percentage of income. Support concealed-gun laws allowing anyone to carry a handgun, except with criminal intent.
List three specific programs or projects for which you would support increasing funding, even if it required reducing funding to other programs or projects.
Ryan: Teacher pay (with accountability). Mental-health parity.
Seng: I would be willing to increase funding for education, health care, and economic development. These are the most pressing issues facing our state in the next two years, and it will be tough to make significant changes without increasing funding. I'm especially supportive of the school-to-work programs and a cooperative program to buy drugs for seniors.
List three specific programs or projects for which you would support decreasing funding, regardless of whether the budget required it.
Ryan: Candidate did not answer this question.
Seng: If we get people off of welfare with the school-to-work program, we can decrease welfare spending. We may also be able to cut funds by using interdepartmental advisors rather than paying outside consultants for state business.
Wittstruck: Any corporate welfare - including farming!
If it were clear that a large majority of people in your district opposed a proposal that you strongly favored, what decision would you make and how would you justify it to your constituents?
Ryan: I would be very considerate of the thoughts and opinions of those residing within the 43rd District. I would be mindful that I represent those folks, not just my opinion.
Seng: If I felt the majority of people definitely understood the proposal, I would go with the majority opinion.
Wittstruck: I would try to sell my views to the constituents. Failing that, I would vote as my people wanted, providing it was constitutional.
What specific proposals would you support to bring genuine economic growth - new jobs that pay well, companies committed to the community - to the Quad Cities?
Ryan: Incentives for new business, and for current business to expand or re-tool to become or maintain a competitive edge. This can also be enhanced by tax relief.
Seng: There should be a designated economic-development employee who specifically solicits companies and looks for expansion opportunities that would fit our community. If our economic-development staff is understaffed, this would be a newly created position. He or she would work with Quad-City Development Group. The state also needs to give cities and counties the latitude we need to promote economic development that is appropriate for our area.
Wittstruck: Limit or eliminate corporate taxes.
List specific proposals that would improve cooperation and reduce competition among government bodies in the Quad City area.
Ryan: Maximize utilization of the resources available through the Bi-State Regional Commission. We need to also explore utilization of rail and highway transportation. Also river commerce.
Seng: We should strengthen the Bi-State Planning Commission's role. We also need better dialogue between city leaders; we rarely get together as councils to discuss problems facing our cities.
Wittstruck: Stop Tax Increment Financing to lure companies into moving from one city to another. A company in any one of the Quad Cities benefits them all.
List any specific proposals you would support to improve the integrity of your legislative body, including in the areas of campaign-finance reform, lobbying reform, sunshine laws, and ethics legislation.
Ryan: Being a challenger for an open seat, I would at this time have no state experience to base an opinion on. However, longer terms would seem to be a starting point for better public service.
Seng: I think campaign-finance reform is crucial. The most critical thing is limiting how much can be spent. It is getting to the point where the average person cannot afford to run for the legislature. Because of this, the reliance on special interest money is heavy. Also, something should be done about negative campaigning. Accusations against another candidate should be documented by references to demonstrate validity.
Wittstruck: Require all political contributions to be published weekly - at least seven days before election.
List and justify your top five legislative priorities.
Ryan: Tax relief to retain our seniors in our state. Teacher pay, teacher shortage. Economic development. Health care and prescription drugs for seniors. Revisit the Bottle Bill so there is a common theme on what bottles are taxed.
Seng: As I said above, my top three priorities are education, health care, and economic development. In addition, I would like to see tax reform as a rollback in the tax on Social Security and pension taxes, which I think we have to reduce. Finally, I would like to see state legislation to help cities with drug enforcement and gang problems.
Wittstruck: Education - bring discipline back into the classroom. Taxes - end inheritance taxes. End all deductions on income tax except one for living expense per individual based on family size.
In the wake of welfare reform, what specific initiatives would you support to address poverty, including in the areas of affordable housing; transportation; education and job-training; and access to health and child care?
Ryan: Partnership between Workforce Development of Iowa and the seven area community colleges to train Iowans for tech jobs. Brownfield development and back fill within the central-city areas. Additional work with seniors to make programs available so they can stay within their homes.
Seng: I am very supportive of school-to-work training, and I think we have to figure out some way to make sure people coming off of welfare can get good jobs and keep them, or they'll wind up right back on the welfare rolls. There also should be a graduated system of benefits for people going from welfare to work; otherwise people reach a point where they don't want to go any higher on the income scale, or the increase in income isn't worth the loss in welfare benefits. I also believe we should expand the HAWK-I program to make sure that more children in poverty can get health-care coverage.
Wittstruck: Make better use of welfare recipients' labor on public projects - work for Welfare! Exception being the severely disabled. I would resist any effort to increase handouts to people who won't carry their own weight. Eliminate the minimum wage!
List and justify your top three priorities for the Iowa budget surplus.
Ryan: Tax relief - property, income, federal deductability. Senior health-care issues - drugs and in-home care. Teacher pay, student achievement.
Seng: My top three priorities are in education, particularly in addressing the upcoming teacher shortage; health care with prescription-drug coverage; and economic development.
Wittstruck: Lower taxes - If there is a surplus, the state is collecting too much! Return the surplus to those who paid the taxes! Tax only to required budget needs.