Candidates square off in forum

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It was a standing room crowd in the council chamber of City Hall last night, as the Ottumwa League of Voters held a candidate forum.  Most of those on hand for the event were there to hear how incumbent state senator Mark Chelgren and his challenger Steve Seigel stand on a number of issues.

The candidates were asked what they would do to promote Iowa as a place to expand business.  Chelgren said he would work hard to promote the state as a place to establish a new businesses, noting he moved his business from California to Iowa.  Seigel said we need to promote what we have and said funds need to be used on the state’s educational system and more funds should be spend on the state’s highway system.

On the issue of property taxes Siegel said as a supervisor he has worked hard to keep property taxes down in Wapello County.  Chelgren notedWapello County has the highest property taxes in a four county area of southeast Iowa and work needs to be done to get property taxes in line.

The two candidates were asked about increasing the state’s gas tax in order to improve the state’s highways.  Chelgren said he  submitted a bill that calls for 22-million dollars to repair the state’s highways.  Under the legislation Wapello County would have received more than two million dollars.

Siegel said legislation known as the Time 21 formula is not fair  and noted no one likes tax increases.

Chelgren said he will continue to be a good steward of state funds.  Siegel  said if he’s elected to the Iowa State he would work to increase the state’s minimum wage and said he would work to establish a fair tax system and would work to clean up the state’s water ways.