Republican candidates for the 94th District have similar ideas about what they say are important issues for Yorkers, but different methods for success — and different ideas about the type of leader who can do the most for the district.
House Majority Whip Stan Saylor, 59, is seeking a 12th term in the seat, which the Windsor Township Republican has held since 1993.
Kelly Henshaw, 58, of Red Lion, first ran against Saylor in the 2012 primary, securing 41.6 percent of the vote.
Henshaw said the close results from that primary and his commitment to rid the state of career politicians prompted him to run a second time. Both candidates say property tax relief is high on their agenda, but Henshaw said Saylor's claims have run out of time.
"Every two years he's promised property (tax) relief with no end in sight," Henshaw said.
The tax bills: Saylor co-sponsored two bills that would aim to reform property taxes, House bills 76 and 1189.
Henshaw said only House Bill 76 has a chance of effecting change, saying House Bill 1189 would not totally eliminate school property taxes. Instead, according to the bill, school districts could choose if they wanted to use property taxes or rely on other revenue such as earned income or business privilege taxes.
"(Property taxes) can always rear (their) ugly head," Henshaw said.
House Bill 76 would eliminate property taxes and replace that revenue with personal income and sales and use taxes, according to the memo introducing the bill. But House Bill 76 has roadblocks because many areas of the state pay lower property taxes, Saylor said. Lawmakers in lower-tax areas most likely won't support the bill that changes to a new tax form, he said.
If the Senate version of that bill would come to the House, Saylor said, he would do "everything in his power" to see it come to a vote. But in the meantime, York County school districts could have the option to change their taxes with the passage of House Bill 1189.
Henshaw criticized Saylor for voting against a previous property tax reform bill that included many aspects of House Bill 76. But Saylor said the bill didn't have enough revenue options to be viable.
In past votes, Saylor said he's supported other reforms that sounded good but didn't have the backing to create change.
"I've said I would not support legislation again that, in my opinion, is a cheap political trick," Saylor said.
Term limits: Henshaw also points to Saylor's two decades in the House as the reason for change. Henshaw said he believes in term limits and would not serve more than five terms if elected.
But Saylor contends defining a "career politician" is different for everyone — some legislators earn the title after only serving five or six years, he said. And his years in Harrisburg have allowed him to become one of the leaders in the House, Saylor said.
"I've worked very hard with my colleagues to get elected by my peers," Saylor said.
If re-elected, he'd have the potential to reach even higher levels of leadership, Saylor said. And that sort of leadership means York County values are represented in the higher levels of the state government, he said.
Saylor said he isn't so entrenched in the Legislature that he forgets growing up on a York County farm and owning a plastering business with his father, he said.
"I know exactly what York countians are thinking," he said, pointing to fiscal responsibility with the state budget as an example.
Saylor said the state budget has grown only $100 million in the last four years despite increasing funding mandates from the federal government, far less than it did in the previous eight years under Gov. Ed Rendell's leadership.
"I've worked hard to make sure every dollar is spent well," he said.
The winner of the May primary will face unopposed Democrat David Colon of Windsor in the November election.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.