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updated: 9/21/2012 4:30 PM

Tom Morrison: Candidate Profile

54th District Representative (Republican)

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  • Tom Morrison, running for 54th District Representative

    Tom Morrison, running for 54th District Representative




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: Palatine


Office sought: 54th District Representative

Age: 37

Family: Married, two children

Occupation: Full-time legislator with investment in local disaster restoration business

Education: B.A. in history, Hillsdale College, 1997

Civic involvement: Sons of the American Legion, Palatine Jaycees

Elected offices held: State Representative, 2011-2012

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Pension reform

Key Issue 2

Medicaid reform

Key Issue 3

Improving the state's business climate to reduce unemployment and grow the overall economy.

Questions & Answers

How would you fix the state's pension gap? Should pension costs be shifted to suburban school districts? Why or why not? Should this issue be voted on in a lame-duck session? Why or why not? How can partisan gridlock be eased to solve the crisis?

In the short-term we should imitate the state of Maryland and suspend COLA increases until our pension funds are at least 85% funded. That would help provide some temporary relief to the state's already overstretched budget due to its annually obligated pension payment. Eventually we're going to need to shift current workers to a hybrid pension plan that includes a 401K component. Under two critical conditions, yes, suburban school districts should share a greater burden of pension costs moving forward. 1.) Illinois must allow local school districts to exempt themselves from unfunded state mandates. 2.) Employees should be required to pay their portion of the retirement contribution out of their own salaries. Currently many school district contracts force the school district to pay all or some of the employee's pension contribution. Some of the pension costs should be pushed down to the local level to allow for greater accountability in regards to salaries--especially end of career salary increases. It should be voted on before the election, but it probably will wait until the lame-duck session. Regular citizens need to be clamoring for their own elected representatives to vote for changes to the pension plans. Right now, the unions are the only organized force, and they've successfully frightened many officials from both parties to make any necessary changes. It's unfortunate because the status quo will continue to hurt everyone.

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

Comprehensive pension reform is a must. I support further Medicaid reforms that ensure that only legal IL citizens are receiving benefits. I also support Medicaid reforms that encourage more personal responsibility for health and health care decisions that will save us money in the short and long-term. Pensions and Medicaid spending are the two largest out-of-control items in the state's budget. Illinois needs to stop making promises that it cannot keep. Audit state agencies and programs for inefficiencies, waste, fraud, and abuse. Audit the LINK card and other welfare programs to ensure that these programs are not being mis-used. Suspend pay increases to state workers until the budget is balanced. Require state retirees to pay adequately for their health insurance until they reach Medicare eligibility. The past two major gambling bills have been virtually identical, so I would be a no vote. I do not see expansion of gambling as being good public policy. Arlington Park has been a good neighbor and a significant contributor to the local economy, but I do not agree that approval of slots would be wise considering the social problems that accompany increased gambling availability.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide? What is your view of the tax breaks granted to companies like Motorola Mobility, Navistar and Sears?

Illinois is losing its competitive edge relative to our neighboring states in regards to the corporate and individual tax rate, property taxes, and fees. We must continue spending reforms in Medicaid, pensions, and other state programs to ensure that we can balance the state's budget. Until we get on a stable fiscal path, businesses will be reluctant to expand in or move to Illinois. Furthermore, we have unfinished work to do on tort reform, unemployment insurance, and worker's compensation insurance. Abuse in these areas further diminishes Illinois' ability to attract and retain businesses of all sizes because it costs too much to operate in Illinois versus our neighbors. I did not support special tax relief to the major employers. Small businesses combined employ more Illinoisans than the large businesses and should be given a level playing field. We do need businesses of all sizes in Illinois and having world-renown players based in this state certainly adds to our status as a place to do business. Furthermore, the large IL businesses do enrich the local economies greatly via large payrolls and sub-contract work to small and mid-sized businesses. By making our corporate and individual tax rates as flat and low as possible, however, we should be able to increase revenues by growing the economy and adding taxpayers.

Do you favor limiting how much money party leaders can give candidates during an election? If elected, do you plan to vote for the current leader of your caucus? Why or why not? Do you support or oppose campaign contribution limits? Please explain.

I do favor limits on money party leaders can give candidates, particularly during the primary election. I will reserve my commitment for caucus leader until after the election to give any potential challengers the opportunity to come forward. The problem with campaign finance reform is that there always seems to be too many loopholes. It's a cynical view, but unfortunately, it seems the efforts grab headlines and enable politicians to pat themselves on the back in front of the public rather than actually changing anything in a meaningful way. If there is at least sunshine on the campaign contributions, then perhaps the voters can decide for themselves if a particular candidate will be more loyal to them or to the party leaders.

Should gay marriage be legalized in Illinois? Should it be voted on in a lame-duck session as civil unions were? Should Illinois define life as beginning at conception? How would you vote on a concealed carry plan? Should the death penalty return?

I support the state's definition of marriage as being only between one man and one woman. No, if it is voted on, then it should be prior to an election and/or just after a new legislature is sworn in. That way the public can fully vet candidates on the issue and vote accordingly. Illinois should define life as beginning at conception; at conception you have a completely new and unique set of DNA. I have consistently voted to support concealed carry. The death penalty should return for criminals who commit particularly heinous acts.