Back to 42nd State House District
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
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Family: 1 Husband
Occupation: State Representative
Education: BS Economics, United States Military Academy
Civic involvement: Wheaton City Councilmember
St. Michael School Head Cross Country Coach - 11 years
Elected offices held: Wheaton City Council May 2011-November 2012
What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? Will you vote for your current legislative leader? What is your position on term limits in general and specifically for legislative leaders? Do you support the ongoing drive for a constitutional amendment on redistricting? What will you do to promote implementation of any changes you recommend?
The most important item of business in the legislature is the passage of a budget. The current trajectory of cobbled together appropriation bills and the reliance on court orders, consent decrees and continuing appropriations is giving the state no flexibility in the future by committing current dollars to past bills. We are on track to have $14 billion in current accounts payable by the end of FY17 - only because the legislature failed to pass a budget and relied on stop gap funding - a plan I did not vote for. We need to move to passing two year budgets and we need to prioritize passing a budget in our legislative work by not passing any other bills on third reading until a budget is passed that year. These measures along with adopting a revenue number by a date certain would help greatly in getting a balanced budget in place.
I have no idea who will run for legislative leader in my Republican caucus, so I cannot say who I will vote for at this time.
I filed a term limit bill my first year in office. We have had turnover in the legislature, but the Democrat leadership turnover has been a big impediment to change. In the absence of redistricting which would give more competitive races, the only other alternative is term limits. I support both measures in Illinois. I signed onto the petition for a constitutional amendment for redistricting. I will co-sponsor or file legislation on both items.
Would you vote for an increase in state income taxes or sales taxes? Would you vote for new taxes, such as on services? What is your position on a graduated income tax?
Illinois has not earned the right to new revenue. One needs to look no further than the results of 2011 tax increase to prove this point. The $31 billion in new taxes went 90% to public sector pension payments. People of every political stripe in my district do not trust how government is spending money - just look at the COD debacle or the 10 year teacher contract. Illinois is a consistent leader in losing population, despite our natural resources and educated workforce. A tax increase without reform will force more businesses and families out of the state.
The only reason for a tax increase at this point would be to pay down the unpaid bill backlog of $8 billion that is headed to $14 billion by the end of FY17. It is immoral to contract for services and then not pay on time. Even a tax increase for this reason is out of the question without reform. It would be better to take on debt and payoff the back bills over time since we pay a 12% interest charge after 90 days(I cringe while I write that) then to give into a tax increase without real and substantial reforms.
I oppose all new taxes at this time. I oppose a graduated income tax, a millionaire income tax and a sales tax expansion that picks and chooses which additional services or goods to tax and gives other services and goods a pass.
What changes, if any, do you support in education and education funding in Illinois? Please be specific.
I offer guiding principles for inclusion in any funding formula change.
1. Every school begins with a minimum amount of guaranteed state support per student. Schools spending 1.5 times the state average, see a reduction in the amount of state support they receive.
2. The funding formula should not take into account PTELL status of district.
3. Poverty money and special education dollars should be given on a per student basis.
4. Except for federal mandated categorical spending, all other program spending eg. advanced placement, agricultural education, afterschool matters,should be discontinued and that money pushed into general state aid.
5. An EAV reform taskforce must re-look property assessment and ensure the same standards are in place throughout the entire state since property wealth is a factor in the formula.
6. The formula should reward and incentivize districts that perform well or show growth and give additional dollars to districts that beat state performance averages and spend below the per pupil state average.
7. To recognize the cost to families, the education tax credit should be expanded to $1500 and the credit should be eligible for amounts paid for tutoring, extracurricular programs, and summer programs that enhance learning. I filed HB 4584 to increase this tax credit.
8. The formula should include new debt limitation language so taxpayers are better protected from excessive school debt. I filed HB 5967 to protect taxpayers.
9. The formula should include property tax relief when state spending increases.
On Illinois' budget, specifically, where do you believe cuts need to be made?
We could save over $500 million in state employees group health insurance if we simply spent the average that other states spend per employee in this one category. I would cut every program that is not a direct responsibility of state government. We should prioritize law enforcement (running the courts, prisons, and state police), state infrastructure, education, and aid to the poor and disabled. Cut everything else eg. local park grants, art grants, county and state fair support, all medical spending not covered by medicaid, various hot lines, lobbyists, and add accountability measures to receive child care money, medicaid, or other grants. For certain programs only use federal allocated dollars not state money - LIHEAP is one example. This is just a partial list. Cut ALL unnecessary spending. Make each agency find 5% cut to their budget.
Long term budget reform begins with pension reform. If we spent the average percent of our GRF that other states do, we would have $4-5 billion more in our budget.
What approach do you support toward fixing the public pension systems?
Pensions are the number one threat to Illinois' long term stability. Pensions are unaffordable, unsustainable, and unfair. Step One: All elected officials immediately pass legislation or a resolution or whatever it takes to take themselves out of all public sector pension plans.
Step Two: move new hires to 401K-style plan and offer hybrid to current employees. This hybrid concept gives employees the security of a defined benefit with the control and growth of a 401k. It gives employees in Tier II the real chance to have a flexible plan they control without the negative returns expected in their current situation.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I will continue to work on business reforms and property tax reforms to keep and attract employers and workers. We need to capitalize on our advantages of varied and abundant energy, fresh water, great agricultural land, and central location.
I will continue to work on government transparency, cost controls and fight against corruption by government officials.
Reasonable criminal justice reform should continue.
I will continue to advocate for educational choice that allows parents to make the primary decision about their child's schooling, not income and zip code.
We need public sector labor reform to have a government we can afford.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
I find little inspiration in the political, academic or government realm. Instead, I am inspired by the small businessman who takes market risks and competes.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
I was one of six children and I learned about the value of family, being generous, and having fun together.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would have completed an advanced degree immediately after college.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Economics. It led me to choose that as my major in college and has served me well in my role as state representative.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Keep your faith in God.