State budget, taxes top concerns for 66th District candidates
Candidates vying to represent the House 66th District cite getting a state budget passed, ending corporate handouts, and providing property tax relief to residents among their priorities.
The race pits Republican Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee against Democrat Nancy Zettler of Algonquin on Nov. 8. The candidates are vying for the two-year seat being vacated by incumbent Republican Mike Tryon.
Skillicorn, 42, an East Dundee village trustee serving his second term, said lawmakers need to "chip away" at the current gridlock in state government and remove House Speaker Michael Madigan from that post.
Zettler, 58, a retired attorney, distanced herself from Madigan saying she hasn't received any support from him and wouldn't automatically toe the party line if elected.
"I'm not following behind everybody," she said. "It's not falling in line because I have a 'D' after my name and he's got a 'D' after his name."
She called for more transparency and accountability and legislators standing up to their leaders.
"The governor is primarily responsible for the current budget situation," she said, adding compromise is needed to get a budget passed. "As a trial lawyer and litigator, the best settlement is one where no one is happy."
Skillicorn supports instituting a property tax freeze, and getting rid of unfunded mandates and corporate tax breaks.
"People want real and substantial property tax relief," he said. "Local governments have been raising property taxes, getting fat raises ... it's fair to ask local governments to be responsible too."
He said residents are fleeing to neighboring states due to breaks granted to big corporations, leaving mom and pop businesses in the cold. He called for tightening up corporate "welfare" rules and shortening the 23-year timeline for special taxing districts.
"How can we plan out 23 years in the future?" he said.
Zettler noted Skillicorn has voted for the creation of Tax Increment Financing districts and incentives for businesses as a village trustee and called his opposition now "disingenuous."
Skillicorn said while he voted for the creation of two TIF districts there was negotiation involved in the process.
"There is a significant difference between inducement and the TIF itself," he said. "The village does overemphasize that. TIFs aren't the way to go."
Zettler agrees rising property taxes is the No. 1 concern for residents of Kane and McHenry counties. She also favors ending handouts to corporations, such as Sears Holding Corp., which has gotten nine local and state government subsidies of more than $531 million. Use of TIF districts and EDGE (Economic Development For a Growing Economy) tax credits has become a game, she said.
"There's massive amounts of money that is being handed over to big companies," Zettler said. "I would like to see a moratorium on that for a year or two."
While ending corporate giveaways is a place to start, it barely makes a dent, she added.
Skillicorn agreed EDGE credits are a small piece of the puzzle. "It definitely needs to be reined in, but in the longer run we need more reforms," he said.
On raising income taxes, Zettler said she is not in favor of raising it for working and middle classes, but supports taxing millionaires and corporations more. Skillicorn opposes raising taxes for anyone.
The district includes portions of Algonquin, Carpentersville, Crystal Lake, East Dundee, Elgin, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood, Sleepy Hollow and West Dundee.