The Democrats’ budget is out-of-balance by $5 billion with no solutions to cover the costs if the federal government does not come through. The Democrats’ way of budgeting is a slap in the face to the taxpayers of Illinois that rely on the services the State provides. While it may be a small amount of money, we must first stop the practice of legislative pay raises to prove the GA is serious about budgeting. We must also work to salvage the pension system that has billions in liability while protecting retirees. Finally, we must make Illinois a more attractive state for businesses. Right now, families and businesses are fleeing the state in record numbers. In order to capture the revenue they provide, we must keep them in Illinois.
No, I do not support the progressive income tax amendment. Approving that amendment means a tax increase on small businesses and farmers, which is not fair in these uncertain times. In addition, if the Democrats have their way, the progressive tax amendment could lead to a tax on retiree income, which would only force more and more residents out of Illinois.
I wholeheartedly support redistricting reform so that the people can pick their politicians, not the other way around. I support the Fair Map initiative and would support an independent commission drawing the legislative map. Mike Madigan has had control of redrawing legislative maps for far too long and it’s time to end the process of gerrymandering.
I believe that vote by mail offers voters a good alternative method of voting if they are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and voting in person; however, I think the best way to show your civic duty is to vote on Election Day.
At the beginning of this session in 2019, we passed many measures that will address some of our previous shortfalls and generate new revenue, like gambling expansion that will bring new revenue to Collinsville. However, COVID-19 creates new shortcomings for both our local and state budgets. I believe we must start by cutting perks for politicians and getting serious about making responsible budgeting choices. That’s why I am fighting to eliminate lifetime pension benefits for politicians, so we can use our limited resources to fund critical services like schools, health care, and public safety. I would not support any tax increase or measure that would put an additional burden on middle-class families.
Regardless of how we plan to vote, we can all agree that Illinois’ current tax system is not working for middle-class families, who were hit with an income tax increase just two years ago – which I opposed. I gave voters the choice of whether or not they would move to a Fair Tax system, and I would encourage them to vote based on the facts instead of the political spin. For example, the fair tax has nothing to do with implementing a retirement tax, something which I will always oppose. Regardless of what happens with the Fair Tax, our focus needs to be on providing more relief for middle-class taxpayers – especially property tax relief.
I think there are ways to make Illinois systems fairer and more transparent, the focus also needs to ensure that minority voices are represented. The only truly fair map process needs to occur at the federal level where everyone is playing by the same rules and all states are held to the same standards.
I support vote by mail, and I helped craft the legislation passed earlier this year to expand our vote by mail here in Illinois. There are many states that we have been able to learn from when we considered our own expansion. I think we could work up to a robust vote by mail program that empowers voters in every corner of Illinois.