The candidates in the race for the Senate District 30 seat have very different ideas on how to improve the state's economy and boost employment.
Incumbent Terry Link, a Democrat and veteran lawmaker from Waukegan, is an outspoken proponent of gambling expansion and believes a new casino in the Waukegan area would help struggling local communities. He also supports giving tax breaks to attract or retain companies.
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Republican challenger Don Castella, a first-time Senate candidate from Lincolnshire, said lawmakers should reduce regulations and taxes on businesses as a way to help the economy. He also opposes giving tax breaks to specific businesses.
They were asked about the economy, jobs and other campaign issues in Daily Herald candidate questionnaires. The complete documents are available online at dailyherald.com.
Link is the leader of the Democratic Party in Lake County and is one of the more powerful Democrats in the Senate.
He touted his history as an advocate for "casino entertainment development" in the Waukegan area. Through the years, he's pushed for a casino in Waukegan and then one in Park City, but neither has been realized.
Aside from gambling, Link said he supports funding for road and bridge repair and expansion, among other infrastructure projects.
As for corporate tax breaks, Link said he supported legislation intended to keep Sears and CME Group headquartered in Illinois.
Sears is a Hoffman Estates-based retailer with a long history in the Chicago area. The Chicago-based CME owns futures exchanges in Chicago and New York City and online trading platforms.
"With Sears, the issue was the potential loss of thousands of quality jobs, a loss I didn't think the suburbs could afford to lose," Link said. "With CME, the issue was one of adjusting our tax code to fit the modern nature of that business."
Lawmakers should review the state's tax code and available incentives to ensure they are maintaining and creating jobs, Link said.
"If they aren't, then we should target those incentives and tax breaks for elimination," he said.
Castella has led the Vernon Township Republican organization since 2006 and is vice chairman of the conservative Republican Assembly of Lake County.
Like Link, Castella wants to see transportation and infrastructure improvements in Illinois. That's where their similarities on the issue end.
Castella said the legislature should reduce regulatory and tax burdens on businesses. He's not fond of specially crafted tax breaks, either.
"I oppose government picking winners and losers by providing preferential tax breaks to specific businesses," he said.
As for using gambling as an economic engine, Castella opposes gambling expansion on fiscal and moral grounds.
The 30th District comprises a large portion of Lake County and a small bit of Cook County. Redrawn for this election, its boundaries include parts or all of Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, Lincolnshire, Mettawa, Mundelein, North Chicago, Park City, Vernon Hills, Waukegan and Wheeling.