Taxes on income, fuel and property are driving the Republican contest for the Missouri House seat that covers portions of St. Louis and Franklin counties.
Dottie Bailey and Matt Doell, both of Eureka, are hoping to succeed Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, who chose not to run for re-election in District 110.
Bailey, 44, is in the banking industry, having worked as a loan officer, accounts manager and most recently, a loan buyer. She supports cuts made to Missouri’s state income tax this year and four years ago, and says property-tax rates also need to be slashed.
“When it becomes an exorbitant amount — 5.3-percent net [increase] over 10 years — that’s a lot,” Bailey said.
She also opposes the ballot referendum in November that would gradually raise the state’s fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon to help fund roads and bridges.
“Let’s look for a different solution,” she said. “Certainly there’s some sort of way that we can look for a resolution to any problem other than a tax [hike] — they say, ‘Oh, Missouri is the last to do this,’ … well, then, so be it.’”
Doell, 54, is an engineer and president of the Rockwood school board. He didn’t say which way he’ll vote on the fuel-tax referendum, but he supports letting citizens decide the issue at the ballot box.
“No raise in taxes should be done without people approving it,” he said.
Doell voiced support for the two recent state-income-tax cuts, especially the provisions that spread them out over the next few years.
“They’re kind of doing this incrementally, [which] is probably pretty smart,” he said. “Everybody would like to cut taxes, and I would, too … other states have done that and left pretty big holes in their budgets … [but] if we can make that work fiscally in the state by adjusting the budget, I’m all in favor of it.”
Doell also wants to use his experience as a school board member to advocate for public education in the Missouri House.
“You have to live within your budget, and there’s a demonstrated track record that I can bring,” he said.
Bailey criticized Doell’s record as a Rockwood school board member, accusing him of raising property taxes through his support of various bond issues over the years.
“Eighty to $90 million in bond issues that he’s voted for,” she said. “Of course we need schools, but I really would like for people to keep more of their money.”
Doell defended his record: “In the seven years I’ve voted on those things, they’ve gone in both directions. A few years ago, property values came down, and in order to collect about the same amount of revenue, the rate went up a little bit — this last year, when property values have rebounded, the rate actually went down 3 ½ percent, and I expect it’ll go down a comparable amount this year.”
On Proposition A, which would make Missouri a right-to-work state, Doell said he’ll support the majority opinion of voters in his district. But he added that it’s not as hot an issue in the 110th as it is elsewhere.
“When I’m walking door-to-door, talking to people, [they] don’t want to talk about that,” he said. “They always want to talk about taxes, infrastructure and education.”
Bailey supports right to work: “I grew up in a union home, and my dad is a retired pipefitter, but now unions have turned into a political arm.”
Bailey has been endorsed by the incumbent Mathews, calling her a “true conservative, tireless and fearless” in a brief written statement on her campaign website.
The winner will face Cody Kelley of Pacific in November. He’s running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
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