Name: Julie Menghini

Age: 46

Political Party: Democrat

Hometown: Pittsburg

Political Experience: 6 years in the Kansas Legislature

Name: Julie Menghini
Age: 46
Political Party: Democrat
Hometown: Pittsburg
Political Experience: 6 years in the Kansas Legislature

1. The Kansas economy, like most across the country, has slumped over the past couple of years. What specific ideas do you have to jumpstart the state’s economy?

First, I will work to protect the investment we’ve made in transportation. Site Selection Magazine surveyed businesses across the country and asked them what the most important factors were when choosing a place to locate. #1 was a good transportation system.
Secondly, I’d consider how we can properly fund K-12 education and higher education as the #2 factor for site selection was a skilled, educated workforce.
In addition, I will continue to seek incentives for Kansas businesses that promote growth and are cost effective to insure we are not merely subsidizing natural business behaviors, but instead are truly promoting business and job growth.

2. A major issue in the upcoming session is likely to be that of the current Kansas school finance formula. Do you support keeping the state’s school funding formula as it stands? Or are there changes you would support?

I support the current Kansas school finance formula. The formula is not fundamentally flawed—it is merely underfunded. It includes a base amount and then carefully determined extra weightings based on the number of students who qualify for bussing, free & reduced lunches, extra vocational classes, etc.
Any proposed changes need to be thoroughly vetted—including completely removing the cap on the LOB. Removing the cap virtually insures inequitable funding for districts across the state and will most assuredly be found unconstitutional.
The point is, the funding formula is not flawed, it is underfunded, and has been for years. We just need to appropriately fund the formula and meet our constitutional obligation.

3. With the state’s economy continuing to struggle, lawmakers may be asked to consider two options for balancing the state’s budget — the removal of a number of sales tax exemptions for non-profit organizations and the taxing of services. What is your opinion of these options and would you support them?

I tend to believe every option should be on the table for discussion. We have to accept the reality that our society is spending more and more of its disposable income on services. Right or Wrong—it’s time to review this option and make a decision.
In addition, as some of you may recall, I supported the discussion of removing some sales tax exemptions last session, with the belief that if everyone paid their share of sales taxes, we could reduce the sales tax rate for ALL—or in the case of last session—simply not raise it further, with the option of lowering it as the economy improved.
No matter what is decided, 3 year sunset provisions should be added to ALL exemptions so they are periodically reviewed to insure they are still necessary and providing the intended benefits.
The legislature should also adopt the KACIR policy booklet that establishes criteria for future exemption consideration.