Cary Collins, a Hoffman Estates attorney and Republican challenger in the 22nd District Senate race, tried to convince voters Tuesday that Springfield needs new faces -- his, specifically -- even while acknowledging his opponent Michael Noland has stood up to his own party while in office.
The pair debated business taxation, regulation and employment during a forum hosted by political group Elgin OCTAVE.
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Noland, of Elgin, argued for graduated income and corporate taxes, a tax reform strategy Collins adamantly opposed.
"You don't punish people for success," Collins said. "That's a graduated income tax."
Noland said a flat tax burdens the middle class and those struggling with lower incomes, citing a Center for Tax and Budget Accountability statistic that 94 percent of taxpayers would pay less under a graduated income tax.
On the corporate side, Noland said big corporations with larger, more sustainable profit margins should be asked to pay more. And he supported eliminating the corporate income tax for new and small businesses.
Collins argued again and again for smaller government and less regulation. He defended spending on police and fire and said society got along fine in 1890 without government positions dedicated to things like economic development.
He said regulation may create government jobs but hurts schools, businesses and the economy. Citing examples of Hoffman Estates businesses required to put in sprinkler systems or handicapped accessible bathrooms where there isn't a demand, Collins said government needs to get out of the regulation business.
But Noland defended Illinois' record on regulation, saying the state doesn't go too far. He pointed to public safety regulations as matters of local governments. He defended state workers who often get a bad reputation for being lazy and said society is better because government does more than it did in the 1800s -- like require accessible public spaces through the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"You ought to be glad that we have evolved as a society and said this is something government should do and make sure that we continue to do," Noland said. "I don't shrink from supporting those types of initiatives."
Collins called Illinois the least friendly state in the nation in terms of business and argued that major change needs to happen with new people representing voters for any hope of job creation.
Noland mentioned Illinois' sustained job growth in the last year and said the state's capital bill should stop being treated as a "political football" and be passed every five years instead of every 10. He ended the debate asking voters for another term.