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Why Erik Seligman for State Representative?

It’s time for some change in Kansas State Representative district 83 .   Here are some of the key points that would drive my agenda if elect...

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Is the Incumbent "Good On Taxes"?

In these times of outrageous inflation, every one of us is worried about our personal expenses, and tax cuts are more critical than ever for average Kansans.   Some neighbors have told me that I shouldn’t challenge my opponent on the tax issue, since he’s known to be relatively conservative in this area.   It is true that he eventually came around and supported some of the watered-down compromise tax reduction proposals this year.  I also appreciate and agree with his criticism of omnibus spending bills that are too big to properly understand or debate.   But overall, there are still a lot of problems with Kansas taxes.   A few key points to keep in mind:

  • The incumbent voted to sustain the governor’s veto of the tax reform plan passed in January.   According to media reports, his argument was that equivalent budget cuts needed to pass before tax cuts.   Of course I agree that spending cuts would be great— the legislature should work on these too.   But in any case, typically these arguments that we “can’t afford” tax cuts derive from the static analysis fallacy:  the idea that every reduction in tax rates will reduce revenues by an equivalent amount.   This ignores the fact that lower tax rates spur increased economic activity, often increasing revenues— as seen at the national level by presidents including Kennedy and Reagan.
  • Kansas is a severely overtaxed state, and this is causing us to miss huge opportunities created by the West Coast exodus. According to some calculations such as those at wallethub, Kansas’s overall tax burden ranks as high as 12th in the nation— extremely high for a “red state”, and making it much less attractive to potential new residents and businesses.   Many of my old friends have left Oregon in the past decade in search of more reasonable government, but I haven’t seen any others choose Kansas, and this issue has been an important factor.   We need a major tax reduction plan in order to become a truly competitive destination for the many people currently relocating within the country.   
  • The incumbent has been in Kansas politics since the 1980s, and is a ranking member of the appropriations committee— so must bear direct responsibility for our current highly-taxed state.   These discussions tend to drown in minutiae related to specific rates on property, social security, etc— but you need to keep the big picture in mind.   Overall Kansas citizens suffer an unusually high tax burden, and my opponent has consistently been part of the government that helped to create this situation over the past four decades.

Thus, if you are concerned about your family’s budget and our state’s overall tax burden, it’s time to vote for a change:    Erik Seligman in district 83.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Lawn Signs Are Here!

Hi everyone-- my campaign lawn signs are now available.   If you live in district 83, or in a visible location nearby, you can email me to request a sign for your lawn!   I also have campaign buttons and business cards now, if you would like either of those.

I know it's a bit early, but given that I'm new to Kansas politics, it's important to get my name out there and let people know there's a challenger for our district's election this year.

Thanks for your support!

Monday, June 10, 2024

Keeping You Informed

As mentioned in my opening statement (the first entry in this blog), one key difference between me and professional politicians is:   I promise to keep you continually informed of the reasoning behind my votes.    In my blog, I will explain each major vote I make in detail, not keeping you guessing about hidden motivations or backroom deals.    You can see how this works based on my previous term in office, when I served on the board of one of Oregon’s largest school districts; that blog is still available at https://hillsboroerik.com .   As you will observe there,  I continually updated this blog over my four years on the board, covering every contentious vote that occurred.

But then I considered:   maybe this is not a differentiating issue.   Perhaps my opponent is just as open and communicative, and thus I shouldn’t emphasize this issue too much.   Maybe his website also does a great job of keeping constituents informed.   So with a bit of googling, I found his website (rephenryhelgerson.com).   It’s certainly a nice looking website, with graphical flair and animation.  Clearly reflective of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he has raised for his various campaigns.   But then I went to look at the substance- the actual text provided there.

In a section marked “About Henry”, I was a bit confused by the mention of COVID-19 affecting this year’s session.   Is that still affecting our legislature this year?   But then when I went to the “News” page, things became a little clearer:    

Notice how each piece of “Latest News” is from 2020?   It looks like he has not updated his website in four years!    Apparently his major concern behind providing updates is to assist specific election campaigns, not keeping the public generally informed.    I guess since he didn’t have a challenger in 2022, he had no motivation for an update then.

Now to be fair, I’m sure he has newsletters, etc, that he sends out to supporters, and probably has done some of those more recently.     And he does have his official page on the KS legislature website, but that’s just a basic summary of his bills & responsibilities, with little detail about his reasoning or positions.     (Also, IMHO, it’s rather poor design that neither of these are linked or visible on his main page.).   In any case, I don’t think the existence of either of these is an excuse:  an officeholder’s web page is the first place people will look for information, and the one place you can get this kind of knowledge without having to sign up for a mailing list or give up any personal data.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, prodded by this post, he finally has his staff update his page.  But do you want to vote for a candidate who gives you information when forced by an upcoming election, or one who will be constantly keeping you informed?