Steven Reick: Candidate Profile
63rd State House District (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.
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Education: Bachelor of Science, Accountancy, University of Illinois 1975
Juris Doctor, University of Georgia, 1980
Master of Science, Accountancy (Tax), University of Georgia, 1980
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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 legislature needs to have more Republicans and fewer Democrats.
I do not support term limits, as I think a better way of limiting the amount of time people serve in elected office should be determined by drawing district boundaries using a non-partisan commission and denying pension coverage to elected officials. Unfortunately, the recent IL Supreme Court decision denying ballot access to a redistricting amendment takes that option off the table, but it doesn't change my opinion on term limits.
Furthermore, term limits serve as a disincentive for public participation in political affairs, as people will come to assume that if an official is term limited, how much damage can he or she do in such a short period of time?
Finally, without the institutional knowledge that comes from experience, too many legislators would begin to rely to an ever greater degree on non-elected staff, thereby cutting the cord of electoral accountability.
In a perfect world, legislative leaders should be chosen by their respective caucuses without the prospect of financial support or denial of same hanging over their heads.
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?
I'm willing to look at our entire revenue structure, but any changes must be revenue-neutral. Those who got their tax increase in 2010 did nothing with it, in fact, the underfunding our our pension systems increased by 4%. We need to get our spending under control. I do not support a graduated income tax.
What changes, if any, do you support in education and education funding in Illinois? Please be specific.
I've discussed education funding on my blog (www.steve463.com). Education funding is the responsibility of the State, not local property taxpayers. Too much of the money that people in my district send to Springfield ends up in Chicago. There needs to be a complete revision of the way we fund education, and it begins with treating a kid in Harvard, Illinois the same way a kid in the CPS system is treated. I'm interested in exploring the educational funding program that has been adopted in Nevada, called the "Educational Choice Scholarship Program" (https://www.edchoice.org/school-choice/programs/nevada-educational-choice-scholarship-program/), which puts parents fully in charge of the money being allocated by the state for their children's education. Any way you slice it, we need to change the way we pay for education so as to give the property owners in my district relief from the crushing burden of real estate taxes.
On Illinois' budget, specifically, where do you believe cuts need to be made?
There must be a moratorium on unfunded mandates, and we must bring Medicaid spending under control.
What approach do you support toward fixing the public pension systems?
I support moving all new employees to a defined contribution model of retirement savings. The Constitutional guarantees benefits, but the drafters placed the responsibility for funding directly upon the legislature, which has utterly failed in that task.
Next year fully 25% of our general revenue will go to pay for pensions, most of it being the past underfunding. We need carve it out of the budget, treat it as a capital project much like a road or an airport, and find a dedicated revenue stream to pay it down.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Property taxes are the most important issue facing the people of this district, the biggest portion being education costs. There must be a change in the way Illinois pays for education to reduce the burden on property taxpayers.
Jobs will not return to Illinois until we make changes that will lower the cost of doing business here, such as changes to the workers' comp system and by enacting tort reform. Local governments need to have flexibility in contracting by loosening the current prevailing wage law.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
None come to mind.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
That if I wanted something, nobody was going to give it to me, I'd have to work for it.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I prefer to focus on what's in front of me, not behind.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
History, because it made me realize that human nature does not change, and the lessons of history are a roadmap to the future.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you want something, nobody's going to give it to you, you have to work for it.