Tim Schmitz and Jennifer Barconi agree something must be done to promote job growth in Illinois.
But the candidates for the 49th state House District disagree over how exactly to do that.
Contact information ( * required )
Schmitz, a Republican from Batavia who has served in the House for 11 years, says he will work to improve Illinois' business climate.
Barconi, a Democrat and business owner from South Elgin, would focus her efforts on marketing the incentives Illinois already has to potential employers.
Their divergent views will be watched closely in a state that lost more than 20,000 jobs in July - the third worst performance in the country.
The 49th District includes all or parts of Algonquin, West Dundee, Elgin, South Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Huntley and Crystal Lake.
For Schmitz, a part-time firefighter, the job losses are a sign businesses are packing up and moving to other states because of Illinois' tax climate, burdensome permitting process and unfavorable labor laws.
Schmitz supports tax incentives for businesses and efforts to streamline the application process and reform labor regulations.
"We want to give them incentives to hire more people," Schmitz said. "We've got one-party rule in the state, and it hasn't done anything to stop this flow of job losses."
Barconi, though, says more legislation is not the answer. Instead, she supports marketing Illinois directly to large employers. She also wants Kane County to have a dedicated person coordinating economic development efforts.
"We are going to refocus on marketing Illinois to Fortune 500 companies," Barconi said. She added: "If Kane County is one of the top five in population, we should have a designated person."
Schmitz, however, says Illinois needs to improve its laws and regulations before reaching out to businesses.
A 2010 study by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation ranked Illinois' business tax climate 30th in the country.
"If you want to create a marketing brochure, you need to create some items to put in that brochure," Schmitz said.
Barconi says her opponent has not been visible enough in efforts to promote local job growth.
"I'll be more involved than our current representative," she said. "He takes his marching orders from (House minority leader) Tom Cross. I take mine from the district."
Schmitz says he and Cross are on the same page when it comes to promoting business-friendly legislation but that they have been repeatedly stymied by Democratic rule.
"Bills to address these things don't even get called," Schmitz said. "We understand majority and minority. Just call our bill. Give them a fair hearing."