As the 2011 Illinois income tax increase approaches its sunset date next year, both Republican candidates to represent the 81st state House District agree it should expire as planned.
Where incumbent Ron Sandack and challenger Keith Matune differ is on how the state should make up for lost revenue assuming the individual income tax rate drops to 3.75 percent from 5 percent as is scheduled in 2015.
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Sandack, 49, of Downers Grove, said reducing state spending is the best way to account for a drop in income tax revenue because creating "some sense of fiscal sanity" will promote a business-friendly environment.
Matune, 44, of Downers Grove, said following the "old Reagan axiom" of creating jobs to boost revenue is the best course, and the state should work to increase jobs by decreasing regulations on businesses.
Neither candidate to represent the 81st District, which includes parts of Downers Grove, Naperville, Lisle, Darien, Westmont and Woodridge, said switching to a progressive personal income tax system instead of a flat rate would be a good idea. Sandack called the idea of a progressive income tax a "non-starter," and Matune said it would be "unconscionable."
Cutting state spending could start by rooting out Medicaid fraud, slowing the pace of hiring for government employees and holding state departments accountable for past commitments to increase efficiency before allocating funds to them in the budget, Sandack said.
"How do we actually grow our economy? We reduce spending," said Sandack, a lawyer who has represented the 81st House District since January 2012 after serving less than two years in the state Senate. "We have to stop spending. We can do that if we have the moral courage to reduce the size, the scope, the expense and expanse of government."
Sandack said the income tax increase should expire as planned because it will put more money in Illinois residents' pockets -- money they can spend and put back into the state's economy.
Matune, a teacher in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and a Downers Grove District 99 school board member, said he thinks the income tax increase should expire as scheduled because high taxes simply are not the road to prosperity -- especially in the realm of business.
"Continuing to tax is not the answer," Matune said.
He said the state should work to decrease the "hoops and laws and requisitions" necessary to start a small business in Illinois and lower the corporate income tax rate to 5 percent. The corporate income tax is scheduled to drop from 9.5 percent to 7.75 percent in 2015. Lowering it further would help businesses forecast future obligations and factor those figures into spending and expansion plans, Matune said.
"There's just so much uncertainty that the legislature could automatically just remove, and we would be in a much better financial position," Matune said.
Republican voters can choose between Sandack and Matune in the March 18 primary, where the two are competing for the GOP nomination.
The winner will advance to the November general election. No Democrat has yet filed to run for the seat.