Jobs are the focus for two candidates from Grayslake running for state representative in the 62nd District.
Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling, a Democrat who advocates fewer layers of government, is challenging incumbent Republican Sandy Cole, who claims a bipartisan bent in seeking a fourth term.
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On Daily Herald questionnaires and in interviews, both cited jobs and economic growth, property tax reform and reduction in government spending as priorities, though they vary on how best to accomplish those goals.
District 62 includes all or parts of Grayslake, Hainesville, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake, Long Lake, Third Lake, Waukegan, Lake Villa, Gurnee, Wildwood and Gages Lake.
Illinois needs to develop a "more comprehensive approach" to attract and retain business, especially in a district near Wisconsin, which has a more welcoming business climate, Yingling said.
The focus should be on incentives for small business, he said. For example, a tax exemption should be offered for people who own the real estate or live on the premises to encourage reinvestment in communities.
"Those are people we need to look after first. We have to do everything we can to make sure small local businesses remain viable," Yingling said.
Cole said small businesses should have an easier time working with state agencies, such as the Department of Revenue. Since the state is late paying its bills, businesses should have the ability to offset amounts they are owed with bills due to the state.
She said giving a break to one business means it needs to be absorbed elsewhere and could result in unintended consequences. Incentives that can be applied equally to large and small businesses are needed, she said.
Cole said she has sponsored legislation to create the Illinois Economic Development Corporation, with its own board of directors, to provide expertise and financial assistance to startup or "recast" businesses investing and creating jobs in Illinois. It could be funded by private companies, which benefit from other companies staying here, she added.
Yingling said that would equate to an unfunded mandate and would require staffing from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. He also questioned a provision of the legislation he said would allow the proposed corporation to incur debt. "You enable another layer of bureaucracy to borrow money," he said.
"There's no liability. The DCEO already does those functions," she said. "This is not another state agency."
Both agree property taxes are a burden. Avon Township has made spending cuts and reduced elected officials' salaries without reducing services.
"We need to find ways to streamline and consolidate units of government to improve efficiencies and reduce property taxes," Yingling said. He advocates consolidating township operations to save money and also suggested cutting the number of assessors in Lake County from 18 to four.
Cole said taking over the function of a government entity doesn't always result in savings. She said the struggling economy is an opportunity to examine state programs, end those that don't work and eliminate duplicate services.