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updated: 2/10/2012 4:56 PM

Don Castella: Candidate Profile

30th District Senate (Republican)

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  • Don Castella, running for 30th District Senate

    Don Castella, running for 30th District Senate




Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Lincolnshire


Office sought: 30th District Senate

Age: 63

Family: Widower, no children

Occupation: Retired IT Engineer-Consultant, small business owner

Education: Geological Science, University of Illinois

Civic involvement: American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vets for Freedom, The Botanic Garden, Art Institute of Chicago, American Cancer Society

Elected offices held: Government Offices: None Political Party Offices: Republican Precinct Committeeman Chairman, Vernon Township Republican Central Committee Vice-Chairman, Republican Assembly of Lake County

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Jobs! Illinois does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. Illinois needs structural spending reforms. The practice of pushing unpaid bills to future fiscal years in order to violate the spirit of the Illinois Constitution's balanced budget requirement must end. Illinois must curtail borrowing to pay current expenses. With the increase in revenue following the 66% personal income tax increase and corporate tax increase, the effort to curtail out-of-control spending through fiscal reform has slowed. But families and businesses suffer the double cost of higher taxes and reduced employment as many vote with their feet to move to lower tax states. The state's backlog of unpaid bills now exceeds $7-8 Billion with no means of paying these debts in sight. Current Springfield Leadership lacks the political will to take on public sector pension reform, but a credit rating agency has decried the lack of pension and spending reform as they lowered Illinois credit rating to the worst in the nation. Growing pension costs are rapidly overtaking spending on education and other important government services. Illinois unemployment is up while unemployment in neighboring states and the nation dropped during the past year. Illinois is losing businesses, jobs, and population to 42 other states and foreign countries, which negatively impacts Illinois revenue growth and competitive position. Studies show that Illinois favorable tax treatment to a few large employers will cost the state more revenue than the corporate tax increase is projected to generate over the next decade. Clearly, Illinois needs to replace the failed leadership in Springfield soon.

Key Issue 2

Illinois Budget Reform

Key Issue 3

Illinois Pension reform

Questions & Answers

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears? For incumbents, how did you vote on the Sears plan in this fall's veto session?

Vote to make Illinois more business-friendly by reducing taxes, fees, and unnecessary regulations: 1. Cutting Spending will save Illinois money 2. Reforming

pensions will save Illinois money 3. Repealing 2011 Corporate and Personal Income Tax increase will save Illinois taxpayers' money that would be better spent in the private sector where it will save jobs and augment tax revenues. Studies show that Illinois favorable tax treatment to a few large employers will cost the state more revenue than the corporate tax increase is projected to generate over the next decade.

Do you favor limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during a general election? If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus' Why or why not?

No. I oppose limits on individual contributions. The current law, places far too much power in the hands of legislative leaders but handcuffs individual citizens. The current campaign finance law is an incumbent job-security law.

How, specifically, would you cut the budget? What does Illinois need to do to fix its status as a "deadbeat state?" How have you or will you vote on future gambling bills' What is your view of slots at racetracks' Casino expansion?

1. Change Medicaid into a health insurance premium assistance program. Illinois could transform Medicaid into a premium assistance program that would offer Medicaid patients better access to care at reduced state cost through a federal block grant waiver similar to Rhode Island's successful Medicaid reforms. 2. Cut education spending by $1.5 Billion, forcing school districts to make classroom spending a priority over administrator salaries and other perks. 3. Switch to a competitive state grant funding program as suggested by Illinois Policy Institute that should save Illinois taxpayers $200 million per year. I oppose gambling expansion.

What do you specifically support to deal with the state's pension gap? Would you vote for House Republican Leader Tom Cross's three-tier pension plan? Why or why not?

I would support SB 512. It is clear that Illinois must address our nation's worst state pension shortfall over time by offering more pension options to state employees, including the option of defined contribution plans that allow them to own and manage their own pension. The Assembly should also explore changes in retirement age and other cost-cutting actions with an eye toward trimming Illinois bloated pension costs to make Illinois more competitive with other states. The legislature must meet obligations to current retirees, but should explore ways to manage this ballooning cost going forward.

Should gay marriage be legalized? Should Illinois define life as beginning at conception as others have? How would you vote on a concealed carry firearm plan? Should the death penalty be reinstated?

I support the traditional definition of marriage that defines marriage between one man and one woman.