District 59 Democratic candidates discuss property taxes, other issues
Since it was formed as a result of population changes recorded by the 2000 census, the 59th state legislative district seat has been held by a Democrat.
And with incumbent Carol Sente not seeking re-election, two candidates are seeking to continue that run, with Vernon Township Supervisor Daniel Didech and Lake Forest attorney Susan Malter aiming for the Democratic nomination.
The 59th District includes portions of 21 communities in central Lake and northern Cook counties, including large sections of Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Wheeling and Vernon Hills, and parts of others.
Responses are from candidate questionnaires and endorsement interviews with the Daily Herald.
Didech is a Buffalo Grove resident and municipal attorney who was elected township supervisor last year. Property tax relief and increasing exemptions for seniors, veterans and middle class homeowners are priorities, he said.
"We need to pass a property tax freeze," he said. "It's what's stopping small businesses from setting up shop in our communities."
He said he has cut the township property tax levy by 5 percent by trimming wasteful or unnecessary expenses and identifying alternative revenue sources. Didech also has pushed a measure to eliminate the township road commissioner position. Voters will decide that in November.
"The state and other local governments should follow the same approach to responsibly manage taxpayer money," he said. "For what the state needs, I think we've accomplished a lot of that at the township level," he added.
Malter, began her career with the Cook County state's attorney's office and left to found Profamily, a not-for-profit to help children of at-risk families in high-crime Chicago neighborhoods. In January 2017, she was among the lawyers at O'Hare International Airport fighting President Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban.
She said school funding should not come from property taxes and supports changing the property tax system.
"While it is important to have property tax relief, the (lost) revenue has to come from somewhere," Malter said.
She supports a progressive state income tax but had not identified specific brackets.
Malter said she would practice "participatory budgeting" -- getting public input on specific priorities and spending allocations to meet the direct needs of District 59 and indirectly with projects and programs benefiting Illinois as a whole.
She also said she would seek expanded disclosure from the Illinois comptroller to provide citizens with biannual, detailed reports on tax collections and spending.
As for legislative leaders, Didech said he would support "the candidate who is committed to providing real property tax relief," protecting a woman's right to choose and enacting common sense gun laws.
Malter supports term limits on legislative leaders in the Illinois House and Senate as a "common sense option" that would not compromise citizen voting rights. She opposes term limits for elected officials.
Malter said she is "100 percent pro-choice." She also supports the Gun Dealer Licensing Act and a lethal violence order of protection to reduce access to guns by individuals with mental health issues.