Arrow-right Camera


Sterk Campaign Is Contract, Part Ii

Mark Sterk’s campaign for the Legislature might become the sequel to the Contract with Washington.

Republicans may repeat last year’s successful strategy of setting a public agenda as they approach the 1996 session, he said.

Sterk, appointed in mid-session to fill an opening in the House of Representatives,

didn’t campaign on the 1994 contract.

But if the sequel includes the things he expects - an attempted repeal of increases in business and occupation taxes and property taxes as well as welfare reform and tougher juvenile justice laws - the Spokane police sergeant said he would be glad to run on it this fall.

As the lone Republican, Sterk advances automatically to the Nov. 7 general election. He will be challenged by the winner of the Democratic primary, Mary Austin or Dan Meckel.

Rolling back the B&O; tax, a move vetoed by Gov. Mike Lowry in the last session, should be be one of the first orders of business, Sterk said.

He sees tax relief for business as a cornerstone for other key issues like welfare reform.

“We need to get the business community involved,” he said.

In exchange for a B&O; tax rollback, businesses should be willing to help trim the welfare rolls by training or hiring welfare recipients, he said.

Welfare recipients should also be limited in the amount of time they can collect benefits. He favors 2-1/2- or three-year limits except for those with physical or mental conditions that prevent them from working.

“But if they’re able-bodied people, we have to give them a clear message” that benefits will end after a set time, Sterk said.

He thinks tax relief for businesses will also result in more jobs for youths, which would in turn lead to a decrease in juvenile crime.

“If people are working, they’re not going to be out standing on corners, selling drugs,” he said.

Sterk wants to make it easier for juveniles who commit violent crimes to be tried as adults. For adults and juveniles who are sentenced, he wants to remove such things as cable television and expensive weighttraining equipment from prisons.

“We’re going to get back to a place where people don’t want to go back to prison,” he said.

, DataTimes MEMO: See profile under the headline: Mark Sterk

See profile under the headline: Mark Sterk