Eighth District Democrats Raja Krishnamoorthi and Tammy Duckworth, both from Hoffman Estates, have different approaches to job creation and economic woes that stem from their own work experiences.
Krishnamoorthi, former Illinois deputy treasurer and currently a laboratory executive, says the government should increase research and development dollars to small businesses across the country such as his own.
Duckworth advocates more incentive programs to help businesses start hiring again, expanding upon work she did leading the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and
as the Obama administration's former assistant secretary of veterans affairs.
The candidates spoke about the issues during separate interviews with the Daily Herald Editorial Board.
The 8th District is centered in Schaumburg and includes portions of Cook, DuPage and Kane counties. The winner in the March 20 primary likely will face incumbent Republican Joe Walsh of McHenry in November.
The candidates have issued comprehensive plans on the steps they believe need to be pursued -- Krishnamoorthi's entitled "Renewing our Economy" and Duckworth's named "Getting America Back to Work."
Krishnamoorthi says one of his priorities is expanding the federal small business innovation research program, which allocates a percentage of research and development dollars to companies across the country.
He also said if elected, he'd push for a more level playing field in terms of the taxes small and large businesses pay, saying big businesses can negotiate tax breaks and hire strategists to reduce their taxes.
Big companies like General Electric "are able to employ an army of lobbyists who can get tax expenditures and loopholes put into the tax code," Krishnamoorthi said, adding, "Lower the corporate tax rate and level the playing field."
Krishnamoorthi also suggested addressing the housing crisis by passing laws that would let judges order lowered principal amounts on mortgages for homeowners who owe far more than their homes are worth.
"If we can lower the principal just enough to help people stay in their homes, that makes more stable neighborhoods and communities," Krishnamoorthi said.
He supports tax credits for those who maintain homes after they purchase them as investment properties, calling dilapidated properties "a big problem because it drags down the value of properties in the neighborhood."
Duckworth says she sees both short- and long-term steps to addressing the country's high unemployment rate and sluggish economy.
In the short term, she said the country needs to invest in a new transportation bill that would include repairing and expanding the suburbs' roads and bridges, rail network and O'Hare International Airport.
She also cited the importance of investing in repairing and expanding schools. In the longer term, high schools and community colleges should get grants to support internships at key high-tech businesses, she said.
Duckworth also favors incentive programs to help small businesses that create
new jobs and hire unemployed workers, pointing out her previous work helping establish tax credits for businesses that hire veterans.
"At the federal level when I got to Washington, the president put me in charge of programs to end veterans' homelessness," Duckworth said. "I found that the biggest thing that leads to that downward spiral was actually jobs. It wasn't mental health or drug addiction."