Jeffrey Meyer: Candidate Profile
43rd District Representative (Republican)
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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.
Family: Wife - Courtney Meyer (nee Berg) Son - Zachary Meyer
Education: B.A. - Political Science, Northern Illinois University; J.D. - Law, Northern Illinois University.
Civic involvement: Board Member - Hamilton Wings; Volunteer Attorney - CASA DeKalb County; Chairman and Precinct Committeeman - Elgin Township Republican Central Committee; Past Board Member - Elgin OCTAVE.
Elected offices held: Republican Precinct Committeeman - Elgin Township Precinct 29.
How will you work to make the General Assembly function more productively and effectively? Wlll you vote to retain your party's current legislative leader? In what specific ways do you support changing how government in Springfield works?
The largest impediment to functionality in the General Assembly is the veto-proof majority held by Michael Madigan's caucus in the House of Representatives. So long as this veto-proof majority exists, Speaker Madigan and his legislative allies can work around the Governor, whomever that may be, and govern through back-room deals. If I am elected and the super majority evaporates, the chances greatly improve for open dialogue and substantive progress on the issues most affecting our State, namely marginal income tax rates, an under-funded pension liability, a structural budget deficit, debt and jobs. I am undecided concerning Republican legislative leadership.
If the Supreme Court, strikes down the SB 1 pension reform, what is your Plan B and why do you think it would be both legal and effective?
Should SB 1 be stricken by the Supreme Court, it is unlikely that other revisions to vested benefits for existing employees and retirees would be upheld. As an alternative, I support moving to a defined contribution plan for new hires and offering current employees the option to convert a defined contribution plan. A mandatory defined contribution plan for new hires, and for existing employees who opt in, will go far in curbing growth of the State's pension liability. This proposal is also likely to be lawful as it does not involuntarily erode any existing pension benefit.
As it stands now, the 2011 income tax increase will expire as planned on Jan. 1. Do you think that expiration should be reconsidered? Would you support making the increase permanent or extending it for some period of time? Please be specific about what level of tax increase, if any, you would support.
Expiration of the 2011 income tax increase should not be reconsidered, and it should be allowed to expire as scheduled. I will not vote in favor of extending the 2011 income tax increase on either a temporary or permanent basis. I will not vote in favor of any proposal that increases State income taxes.
Do you support cuts in state spending? If so, what specifically do you suggest cutting and how will those cuts be sufficient to restore the state's financial health and economic climate?
I favor cuts in State spending over any proposal to impose new taxes or fees, and over any proposal to expand or increase rates on existing taxes or fees. State spending has grown three times faster than population plus inflation since 1990. Certain spending cuts that warrant consideration include: reductions in legislative salaries, the block grant to CPS, elimination and defunding of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and eliminating fraudulent Medicaid payments. We must also pass public policy that retains and attracts employers and jobs so that we can organically grow revenue to help balance our budget.
What changes, if any, do you believe the state should make in the area of education? Would you support the the so-called pension cost-shift to local schools?
The State needs to eliminate the Chicago block grant and reform the funding formula to a system based upon need. The State should also pass legislation expanding school choice in Illinois, including legislation that encourages creation of charter schools in struggling school districts. I do not support shifting the pension liability from the State to local school districts, unless the tax revenue collected by the State gets shifted along with it. Shifting only the burden back may help Springfield balance its checkbook, but it does not reduce the overall taxpayer liability, and the shift would result in higher property taxes.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Job creation and retention is the most important issue in our State. It's been reported that 1/2 of residents polled would leave Illinois given the chance. Illinois' today has 170,000 fewer jobs than before the 2007 recession, and so far in 2014 Illinois has lost 5,900 jobs. So long as we continue to lose jobs and fail to attract new jobs, Illinois will continue linger in fiscal insolvency. The 2011 income tax increase must be allowed to expire and regulatory reform, including workers' compensation reform, is needed to send a signal to employers that Illinois is a place to invest.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Growing up, I learned that when adversity finds you, you will find out who your true friends are. Cherish them once you find out.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I've always regretted not serving in the military. I regret having never made that sacrifice for my community and nation. Serving would be my do-over.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
History. Those who do not study history and learn from past mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Learning past failures helped me avoid those mistakes.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do not be intimidated. Believe in yourself. Trust in your family, friends and God's love. Keep challenging yourself and aim high.