Though much has been made about the differing opinions on social issues between Republican David McSweeney and his opponent, independent Dee Beaubien, both 52nd House District candidates say their priorities are job creation, economic growth and bringing Illinois back to a healthier financial position.
Their approaches to solving the state's fiscal crisis often contrast, however, with differing opinions on gambling, the budget process and the income tax increase.
Neither Beaubien nor McSweeney, who both live in Barrington Hills, supports the massive gambling expansion bill vetoed by Gov. Pat Quinn. McSweeney, a financial consultant, said he doesn't think gambling creates real long-term jobs.
"It's a zero-sum game that hits poor people," he said. "I only support slots (at racetracks) because there's already gambling going on."
Beaubien, who acknowledges being "conflicted" about the issue, said she'd back a scaled-down gambling expansion plan because of all the Illinois license plates parked at casinos in Wisconsin and Indiana. She wants to see slots at racetracks and casinos in Chicago and possibly Lake County.
As for spending cuts, Beaubien strongly believes in the Budgeting for Results initiative. A bipartisan commission named last year is charged with making recommendations, proposing allocations and reviewing current spending mandates.
"It was created to get actual results," said Beaubien, a retired counselor.
McSweeney, however, said Budgeting for Results has made no impact. He'd propose a zero-based system that builds a budget from nothing and is void of automatic increases.
He'd also implement 10 percent cuts in administrative expenses for every state department and agency, end pensions for state legislators, eliminate government-paid mailings by legislators and move additional Medicaid patients into managed care programs.
Both candidates said they'd support the immediate repeal of the personal and corporate income tax increases, though Beaubien said additional spending cuts must accompany any action to offset the lost revenue. Otherwise, the tax increase should be allowed to sunset, she said.
She disputes McSweeney's claims that she described the increase as "fair" during an interview.
"I've been very clear saying I don't support it," Beaubien said. "If I said that ... it was certainly not something I remember. I wouldn't have said it. I don't think it was fair. I don't think it was a good idea."
The 52nd House District covers parts of Algonquin, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Cary, Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, Island Lake, Lake in the Hills, North Barrington, Oakwood Hills, South Barrington, Trout Valley and Wauconda.