Lohmer: District needs a new conservative, 'fresh perspective'
Kathy Lohmer said her positions reflect those of the majority of House District 56A residents.
Lohmer said the state has a "spending problem" and that further taxation, particularly in a tough economy, would hurt businesses and make it difficult for unemployed people to find jobs.
Lohmer, who is challenging Rep. Julie Bunn a second time, said she would better represent the district, which includes parts of Woodbury.
"This is a conservative district and I am a conservative," said Lohmer, who advocates for limited government.
The Minnesota Legislature's priority next year will be to pass a two-year state budget and, in the process, erase a projected $5.8 billion deficit. Lohmer said she wants current spending levels continued in the next budget cycle. That would be an across-the-board spending freeze.
No area of the state budget should see an increase, Lohmer said. She also said she would not support any tax or fee increase.
"I think we have a spending problem in our state," she said.
Beyond freezing state spending at current levels, Lohmer said she wants legislators to use "zero-based budgeting," or assigning state spending based on priorities, not based on what was spent in recent years. While other candidates and lawmakers have proposed that in recent years, it has not been done.
"We're going to have to dismantle government and redo government, I think," she said. "It needs an overhaul."
Minnesota also needs to improve its business climate, Lohmer said. That could be done by reducing corporate taxes and by streamlining redundant permitting.
Lowering tax rates on businesses would leave business owners with more money to spend to grow their companies. That, in turn, will provide more tax revenue for the state, she said. Lohmer also proposed that the state make its business permitting processes more efficient. She said, for instance, that multiple agencies are involved in permitting water issues.
Education, like all other areas of the budget, should not see increased spending as the state grapples with a budget deficit, Lohmer said. Instead, she said she would like to look at how public education funding is spent. She questioned the generous salaries paid to public school district administrators.
Lohmer, who once organized a local home school association, said she wants to encourage more competition among traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools and home-based education. She said that could be accomplished by allowing the state money that would be spent on a student to attend a public school to be used for education in a private school.
Also, Lohmer said she would like to see any of the successful education models used in charter schools implemented in public schools, though she said she did not have any specific examples.
This is Lohmer's second attempt at ousting Bunn. She said people are more concerned about the direction of government this year.
"We need a fresh perspective," she said.
Lohmer said she probably would not run for Minnesota House a third time if she does not win on Nov. 2.