Bob Daiber: Manage budget on the way to prosperity

This is one of a seies of essays produced in response to an invitation from the Daily Herald on the topic, "Why I Should Be Illinois' Next Governor." The two Republicans and seven Democrats who have announced bids to seek the state's top job all were invited to describe themselves and their core positions. Publication of the op-eds began with submission by incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner and will continue daily on the Opinion page. Democrat Tio Hardiman declined.

Illinois is in need of economic stability to improve its image as a state. I am running for governor of Illinois to develop a manageable budget and bring about economic prosperity.

As residents of Illinois, we have seen what has happened the past two and a half years with no budget in place. The $14.5 billion of unpaid bills is inexcusable for a state that has the wealth Illinois possesses. These unpaid bills continue to cost taxpayers large interest payments on a daily basis upward to $10 million dollars daily.

As governor, I will pay all unpaid bills in my first-year budget proposal. I have recommended that all bills are paid by a bonding program to reduce the interest debt. The debt interest will be used to reinvest in higher education and social service programs that have been subject to cuts the past four years.

We must get our fiscal house in order or prepare for another income tax hike, which I oppose. On numerous occasions, I have spoken in favor of a progressive income tax scale. At this time, I am the only candidate who has laid out a plan for such a tax program.

My scale would range from 1 percent to 6 percent. The base would begin with a 1 percent tax for all wage earners at $25,000. The scale would progress to 6 percent with increments based on data from the Illinois Department of Revenue. Payers at the top of the scale would pay 6 percent on income of $1 million dollars or more. Middle class wage earners, $45,000 to $150,000, could see a reduction in their tax rate on this scale. To make this possible, I will lead this initiative to place the progressive tax on the 2020 general election ballot as a constitutional amendment.

I will work to develop a marketing plan that targets business relocation. Illinois' transportation network makes it a prime distribution center for motor freight, rail and river transportation. I believe that manufacturing centers can be developed and expanded.

I firmly believe that labor and management can work together in Illinois to maintain good paying jobs. On March 21, I signed a pledge to say "No" to right-to-work in Illinois. I do not support right-to-work zones or any dimension of it.

I am a firm believer that Illinois can be marketed for its rich resources. Agriculture continues to be Illinois' leading industry. My lifelong background from a family farm gives me firsthand knowledge of the issues that surround Illinois agriculture.

For 38 years, I have served the residents of Illinois through various roles in education. As a career and technical teacher for 28 years, I helped bring manufacturing and technological innovation to young people. The skill sets students learn from these subjects prepare them for 21st Century employment skills or union apprenticeship programs.

Since 2007, I have served as regional superintendent of schools in Madison County. This elected office has required me to utilize my educational knowledge and political skills. I also had the privilege to serve statewide as the president of the Regional Superintendents of Schools. If profound change is to occur in public education, the next governor of Illinois needs a working knowledge of school operations.

Illinois' diverse population attests to the demand for legislation to bring social reforms. I have openly advocated that my administration would promote passage of an Equal Rights Amendment, sign into law a gun dealer's licensing act and promote a statewide mentoring program for at-risk youth.

As I campaign, I advocate that there is more that unites us than divides us. All of Illinois wants quality public schools, safe neighborhoods and good paying jobs.

I encourage residents to consider me as their next governor because I possess 22 years of local government experience. As a city councilman, township supervisor, county board member and a countywide official, I have always put public service first.

Democrat Bob Daiber, of Marine, is regional superintendent of schools in Madison County.

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