The four republican gubernatorial candidates took part in a televised debate in late March, where they answered questions from moderators and from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The first question focused on Missouri’s unemployment and poverty rate, and what each candidate would do to attract higher paying jobs to Missouri.
The candidates mostly agreed on policies, but chose to emphasize different aspects of those policies.
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder focused on tax cuts in his answer.
“You know that I’ll go to work trying to trim our tax code and cut especially, reduce the income tax in this state that is too high at six percent and starts at a level that is too low at income,” Kinder said.
John Brunner, one of two candidates that do not have previous political experience cited his background in business as a qualification for bringing higher paying jobs to Missouri.
“My entire career has been in the job building business. I took a small manufacturing business with 30 or 40 people, worked hard over 30 years and it grew to be the largest in our industry,” Brunner said.
Brunner also said that the Missouri needs tort reform, regulatory reform and “right-to-work” to improve the state’s job prospects.
Catherine Hanaway’s response included a specific five-point plan to bring in more jobs. These points were: reducing and simplify Missouri’s tax code, passing “right-to-work” legislation, freezing all new regulations that concern businesses, appointing conservative judges and working for meaningful tort reform and training Missouri’s workforce for the jobs that are out there.
Eric Greitens cited his experience founding the organization “The Mission Continues,” a non-profit that assists veterans in facing the challenges of everyday life after coming home. He then spoke on what the government’s role is for job creation.
“Government much creates the conditions in which our business owners can own, run and grow their businesses and that’s why we have to sign “Right to Work.” It’s why we have to reduce regulations. It’s why we have to end tax credit rivalry and simplify the tax code. We have to do these things so that Missourians can get back to work,” Greitens said.
The debate moderators also asked the candidates their opinions on raising the minimum wage.
Hanaway again mentioned her five point plan, saying taking those steps to bring in more jobs is more important than raising the minimum wage. What wasn’t productive, she says, is not having a unified minimum wage for the entire state.
“I think the worst thing that we could possibly do, in terms of being competitive with others states and bringing more jobs to Missouri is to piecemeal raise the minimum wage. For Columbia to have one minimum wage, for St. Louis to have another, for Kansas City to have a third,” Hanaway said.
Kinder’s answer was similar, saying he supports the current law that ties minimum wage increases to the state’s inflation rate.
Brunner once again said how his background in business qualifies him to take on Missouri’s economic issues as governor.
Greitens didn’t answer the question and instead spent his time responding to accusations from Hanaway about one of his donors Michael Goguen, who has been charged with sexual abuse.
While the candidates mostly agreed with each other on economic policies and many other issues discussed during the March debate, greater differences between the republican candidates may emerge as the August primary election draws near.