Budget tops list for candidates

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2002

The race for House District 33 includes three Republicans and one Democrat.

Kelly J. Wolf of Kenai, David L. Richards of Soldotna and Mel Krogseng of Soldotna will all appear on the Aug. 27 primary Republican Party ballot.

Former legislator Harold "Hal" Smalley will appear alone on the Democratic Party ballot.

The three Republicans largely agree on the issue of government spending. It needs to be cut, they say.

Krogseng said she thinks state departments should write their budgets from the ground up, so-called zero-based budgeting. Wolf and Richards didn't use the term, but both said they think government spending is way out of bounds.

Differences appear where government experience comes into play, and Krogseng is relying on hers to give her a boost at the polls. She spent several years as an aide to former Rep. Ramona Barnes and later worked for Sen. Robin Taylor. She also spent about eight months in Gov. Walter Hickel's administration.

Wolf, meanwhile, has had his own ongoing experiences with government departments working as founder and director of the nonprofit environmental restoration organization, Youth Restoration Corps. He said he is well aware of the red tape and hurdles to be encountered.

Richards owns and operates Richards' Kenai River Charters. He said regulations imposed by various state agencies, especially with regards to the fishing industry, are squelching opportunity. He wants a good deal less regulatory control.

Krogseng supports pushing new roads into undeveloped areas to open opportunity for resource development.

Richards, on the other hand, said the state is spending too much money on roads projects.

Richards and Wolf said they would favor a sales tax over an income tax. Richards said Alaskans have been getting a free ride. Krogseng thinks any tax program is a long way off.

For his part, Democrat Smalley thinks a long-range fiscal plan is needed, and soon. He is prepared to discuss taxes, but favors an income tax over a sales tax. He also said earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund are not necessarily off limits.

Smalley and the winner of the Republican primary will appear on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

House District 33 includes Kenai, Soldotna and Kalifornsky Beach.

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