Educating DuPage county residents is critical in the early stages of the legalization process. Therefore, close to half of the initial tax revenue should be directed to providing medically and scientifically accurate information on the health benefits and potential harms posed by adult-use cannabis. One-quarter of revenues should be directed to our sheriff's department that will inevitably require more resources policing intoxication and impairment. The final quarter of tax allocation should be directed to outreach programs in our community that address social programs focusing on substance abuse and mental health because the two are often connected.
In later years, as the tax revenue inevitably grows, these priorities will evolve and we can shift the tax revenue away from cannabis education and redirect monies to other programs, such as the following: health care for our most needy residents, opioid addiction prevention and education, and mental health programs in our county.
Generally, my business background and desire for cost efficiencies make me favor these mergers and consolidations of departments; however, I believe that these mergers should only take place once the resiliency of both entities can be ensured. Although I supported the decision to merge the election commission’s duties under the clerk’s office, I am against merging the recorder under the clerk at this time. The fact that the board is unable to fully fund the election’s budget requests troubles me and leads me to believe that the monetary support for successful consolidation with the recorder may be withheld.
The recorder’s duties are of vital importance to the operations of the county, and at times, redundancies in staff and operations add to overall resiliency. I believe this merger can be successful if realistic funding requests are honored.
Although the 528-page overview of the $478M county budget is available online for public viewing, I know from experience that in order to dial-in a budget, it takes a comprehensive review of each department’s numbers through a thorough workshopping process. It is impossible to assess whether we are under- or over-funding each department unless the county board is committed to working in a collaborative manner—asking tough questions and getting a picture of whether each dollar is being spent to serve the county residents.
During my tenure at Lucent Technologies, I was the liaison to the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee. I managed a $350M telecommunications budget to meet the technology demands of the Olympic Games buildout. Coming from a corporate environment, I can offer a new perspective on this process and the change I propose is making a commitment to the taxpayers of DuPage county that we will thoroughly workshop the budget and find resources to increase resident services.
First, I strongly oppose the sale of recreational marijuana. I agree with the overwhelming majority of the medical community and law enforcement community that allowing these sales will greatly expand marijuana use and through that expansion will come a host of social issues ranging from the expanded use of harder drugs, teenage delinquency, and impaired driving. If the recreational marijuana stores do open, I would support allocating all of the resulting proceeds to public safety (police/sheriff and fire) and to drug counseling services. Public safety (namely lowering crime, preventing substance abuse) will be the focus of my campaign and will be the focus of my time on the DuPage County Board.
I have been one of the louder voices, at least locally, on the topic of government consolidation. I believe it is no coincidence that Illinois has the most elected offices of any State and, as a result, impossibly high real estate taxes and highly politicized policy-making. When and wherever we can consolidate government and find efficiency we should pursue those opportunities. I believe our residents will feel no ill effects from the merger of these two offices and we should take hold of this opportunity to remove unnecessary government bureaucracy, cost, and politics from our policy-making. I support this merger.
The revenue side of the equation, in my view, has been maxed out. Our real estate tax burden has simply made it impossible for many of retirees to stay here and has made home affordability a serious issue for many cities in DuPage County. We need to continue looking for efficiencies and ways to better maximize the taxpayer dollar. A few ideas that I have and initiatives which I support include: 1. I support merging the Clerk and Recorder's Office 2. I support consolidation of the Board to one representative per district 3. I support freezing elected official pay and eliminating taxpayer paid elected official healthcare. 4. I question continued investment into the DuPage County Fairgrounds. We need to continue to find ways to make government more efficient, lean, and focused on economic development opportunities that will expand our commercial tax base while reducing reliance on our tax levy as the central means of funding our services.