The candidates for the 3rd District Congressional seat faced off tonight in their first and only debate.
Democratic Incumbent Ron Kind and Republican challenger Ray Boland debated the issues in a forum at the UW La Crosse Tuesday.
Ron Kind has represented the District since 1996. This is Ray Boland's first run for public office, although he has held a number of leadership positions. He is a retired Army Colonel and a former Commander at Fort McCoy. He also served as head of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs
Both began with a statement in support of Hurricane victims in the Northeast, then moved on to issues ranging from taxes, to healthcare reform, to abortion rights, to the Farm Bill. There were many areas of agreement, among them, the importance of a college education and the need to keep higher education affordable for middle class families. But they disagreed on extending the Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 a year. The cuts will add one trillion dollars to the deficit over ten years if they are renewed early next year and are not offset with spending cuts.
Boland supports extending the tax cuts for all taxpayers and looking for other ways to raise additional revenue. Boland says: "I think the problem most people would agree with now is that existing tax rates are probably high enough we just have too much avoidance of paying the taxes that people should pay now and that gets you into loop holes and the need for tax reform. So I think we should be looking at how do we get more revenue out of getting more people to pay their fair share of taxes than necessarily how do we get more by raising the tax rate."
Ron Kind supports extending the cuts only for those earning less than $250,000 a year, and criticized Republicans for supporting tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and add to the budget deficit.
Ron Kind says: "and I have yet to see one proposal that calls for the extension or permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts that would pay for it at the same time. That again is a recipe for economic decline because of huge budget deficits that will ensue."
Another area of disagreement was the Affordable Care Act that Kind supported. Boland wants to repeal the health reform law which critics call Obamacare and says it will mean higher taxes and higher insurance premiums for middle class families. Kind believes the law is a step toward controlling rising health care costs.
You can watch the one hour debate coming up on Sunday afternoon November 4th at 1pm on WXOW 19.
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