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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Political candidate profiles

  • See profiles over the candidates for State Representative of the new Illinois 106th House District and State Senator

    of the 53rd Legislative District.


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  • Candidates for State Representative of the new Illinois 106th House District
    Name: Scott McCoy
    Age: 41
    Place of residence: Pontiac (born and raised)
    Previous political experience: Former Mayor of Pontiac (elected youngest mayor in Pontiac’s history)
    Family: Married to Jennifer for 19 years; three children: Joshua (16), Hannah (14) and Elizabeth (10)
    What issues, affecting Eureka specifically, need to be addressed?
    Jobs & the economy. The business climate in the state of Illinois is especially hard on smaller communities. We need to remove government from our lives and off the backs of local businesses. We need to attract new businesses and create a great environment for entrepreneurs to start new ventures here. This will in turn create jobs and boost the economy.
    How do you think the pension system needs reformed?
    We shouldn’t touch current or retired employees’ pensions. The state should honor their agreement with these employees, because it’s not the employees’ fault for the pension mess. New hires will need to be on a 401(k)-style plan. The state should be held accountable for making their payments. In addition, a boost in revenue will help fund the pension hole by fixing the business climate in this state. We don’t need new taxes and we shouldn’t shift the problem to the employees or to local entities. We need more tax-payers, which will happen when we allow businesses to freely grow and thrive.
    I also believe legislators should not have a pension. Serving your district should not be a career, and should not include a pension. This is leading by example.
    What are your plans to try and keep educational funding from being cut more?
    Again, this goes back to the business climate in Illinois. The state’s source of revenue is from tax. If we had thriving businesses, great jobs, and a free market where people are making and spending money, then so many of our problems will be answered. Education must be one of the highest priorities, because businesses need an educated, trained, and skilled workforce. We must keep schools and education as a top priority.
    Did Gov. Quinn have the right idea with his budget plans?
    Most of the speech was campaign fluff. It had very little substance and very few solutions or direction. Quinn announced 59 facility closures and consolidations, but ignored the impact on the local area, these departments, those directly affected by the closures, and the overall impact to the state. He says other cuts need to be made, but he simply asks for working groups to look at them. He says he cut his own budget by 9 percent, but that’s a token gesture. The only things he is specific on are the new dollars he wants to spend. This is typical of the democrats. Quinn talks about how Illinois is in horrible shape and can’t pay our bills, but he proposes new spending. Gov. Quinn just doesn’t get it and is completely out of touch, because he is not a business person and hasn’t been “one of us” for his entire public career.
    Page 2 of 12 - What are some suggestions you have for fixing the budget crisis Illinois is facing?
    Again, making Illinois a business friendly state is the overall answer to most of our problems. From this, much will be solved. We also need a constitutionally balanced budget. Springfield refuses to be responsible and balance the budget, so we need to force them. This is our state government and we need to take it back and get control. We need to elect strong leaders to help us accomplish this, and that’s why I’m running.
    Name: Tom Bennett
    Age: 55
    Place of residence: Gibson City
    Previous political experience: K-12 school board member; Parkland College Board of Trustees (16 years), Vice-chair
    Family: Wife Kathy; two grown children and two beautiful granddaughters.
    What issues, affecting Eureka specifically, need to be addressed?
    Eureka and other areas of Woodford County are concerned about jobs, small business, and economic growth. We need to help provide an environment in Springfield and across the district that is more friendly to small business. To do that, we need to get a handle on the budget, pensions, Medicaid, worker’s comp, tort reform, IL EPA, and licenses, fees, and regulations that impact small business. We need to look at our tax structure. Recently, Gov. Quinn noted that he was closing the Dwight Correctional Center. That closing directly impacts over 350 jobs, many from around our district, including some that live in Eureka and Woodford County. This is a serious challenge from the governor and we need to move forward in working with city and county administrators as well as our elected officials to deal with this head on.
     How do you think the pension system needs reformed?
    This is a very emotionally charged topic. For years, Springfield has not kept their promise. Unions have done everything asked of them while legislators have used that money for other things. I have talked with folks, some of whom work in public unions. Many have used phrases like “it needs to be a shared sacrifice,” “defined contributions” and “defined benefits.” Most appear to agree that something needs to be done to make the pension system work. Many businesses have move toward defined contribution type pensions or no pensions at all. One state in the northeast has gone to a hybrid. Yet, many say that the Illinois Constitution does not allow a decrease in benefits to public unions without their approval. I also believe several court cases have challenged the “pension clause” and lost.
     We need to get a better handle on the money we actually have coming in and going out. What is the life expectancy of people today in these groups? What information can the actuaries, that do this for a living, tell us? Recommendations? We need to be able to take politics out of this as much as possible and focus on the numbers and the data to help drive our decisions. I believe there are several ways to approach this but here is my bottom line - we need to find a way for the pension system to stand on its own while at the same time be sensitive to the impact these changes would have on individuals, families, and communities. How is it competitive with private industry? We also need to bring the impacted parties to the table for discussion.
    Page 3 of 12 -  What are your plans to try and keep educational funding from being cut more?
    Gov. Quinn sends mixed signals to Illinois voters when he says he wants to have schools merge together while also trying to decrease funds for transportation. He wants larger school districts but provides less money to bus students to school. It is difficult to do both.
    No doubt, education is a key for the future of our state. I understand the concern about cutting education funding but we also need to understand how the money provided really makes a difference in helping students grow and develop into contributing members of society. Educators and legislators both need to understand how limited funds are best used to provide an education for our students. Knowing more about the results we get in education will help legislators make better decisions in setting funding priorities. What is the best bang for the dollars we have? There are also new approaches in education today that could help. For example, community colleges are working closer with K-12 and four-year colleges than in the past to provide a better educational experience for students. Also, community colleges are doing more to help high school students obtain college credit while still in high school through “dual credit” programs.
     Did Gov. Quinn have the right idea with his budget plans?
    Gov. Quinn first gave his 2012 State of the State Address in Springfield that focused on moving Illinois forward, job creation, and improving the economy. It had few details but did make note of new spending. Then, in his follow up speech, he announced several cuts which showed almost a knee jerk reaction to budget woes instead of a long-term strategy of cutting costs, saving money, and turning things around in Springfield. Gov. Quinn needs to create a balanced budget that will create an environment friendly to small business. Supporting small business is critical to growing our economy and creating good jobs. Gov. Quinn missed a great opportunity to demonstrate strong positive leadership in moving Illinois forward.
     What are some suggestions you have for fixing the budget crisis Illinois is facing?
    We need to change our culture of spend, spend, spend. We all have to balance our personal budgets and we know that we can’t spend more than we take in. Why should Springfield be anything different? We have a serious spending problem. Pensions and Medicaid are two big parts of our budget today and are taking a bigger piece of the budget every year. It is going to take some serious changes to balance the budget but these are two big items to get a better handle on.
    In addition, our priorities need to change and our focus should be more on creating Jobs and getting the economy moving again. To do that, we need to focus on making Illinois more friendly to small business. Making Illinois more friendly to small business will help stabilize the economy and allow business the opportunity to expand and grow again. This expansion will help create new jobs, expand the demand for goods and services, help increase our tax base, and get the economy going. But to create jobs and build our economy, we need to lower taxes, balance the budget, tackle the pension issue (already noted), address the growing demands of Medicaid (already noted), push for serious tort reform, reform worker’s compensation, and repeal unnecessary licenses and fees that impact businesses. We also need to look at ways to decrease state government. Where can we eliminate duplication, waste, or fraud? We need to be accountable to the taxpayer. Just because we “have always done it that way” is not a justification to continue doing the same thing the same way. We need new approaches and alternatives.
    Page 4 of 12 - Name: Josh Harms
    Age: 38
    Place of residence: Watseka
    Previous political experience: None
    Family: Wife Rebecca; two children: Paul and Molly
    What issues, affecting Eureka specifically, need to be addressed?
    The City of Eureka Police Dept. employees are being forced by the state of Illinois to move from the IMRF pension to the downstate police pension. This is because Eureka’s population crossed the 5,000 resident mark in the 2010 census. This change is going to cost both the City of Eureka and the city police employees more money than both can afford. Neither the city nor the employees want to make this forced move. The city and police believe it should be optional and due to the cost associated.  If it is not made optional than the population threshold should be raised.
    The preparation to form a police pension board has already cost Eureka thousands and the challenges that lay ahead such as appointing individuals to sit on the pension board will be great as well. The city of Eureka currently only has five full-time officers. One of Eureka’s sergeants recently retired so that he did not have to transfer to the downstate plan. The Chief is allowed to choose so he is planning on staying in the IMRF.  That only leaves four that will have to transfer. The officers will also be losing their service credits and will be required to pay in more toward their retirement as a result. This is a crazy mandate that the state is forcing on the city and its police officers. Eureka is nearly fully funded with the IMRF and that will all change when the city is forced to place its police in a different pension plan.
    How do you think the pension system needs reformed?
    • No benefit cuts to current retirees.
    • Maintain the benefits of current employee. Mandate that the state funds its liability and if there is a shortfall the current employee would have to cover the difference. I would also close loopholes that allow state workers and union leaders to enhance pensions at the end of his or her working career.
    • New hires would go into a defined contribution plan.
     When Gov. Quinn changed the system he raised the age of retirement to 67. A teacher gets 75 percent of the average of his or her last 10 years salary. Teachers in Illinois do not receive Social Security, so the pension system is the largest, if not the only source of income, when a teacher retires.
    In today’s terms, if one were to get 75 percent of $50,000, which is a high estimate for a 10-year average, it would be $37,500 per year benefit under the Quinn plan. If I take 9.4 percent of a teacher’s income, which is what teachers already pay to TRS, and use a lifetime average salary of $40,000 and the 6.25 percent that would be contributed to Social Security, but pay it into a teachers “IRA style pension” and compound it at a modest rate of 5 percent for the 44 years that a new teacher must work, then a teacher would get a grand total of $1,047,030.74. If he or she lives off of the interest at 5 percent, then the teacher would have $52,351.54 per year.
    Page 5 of 12 - The state needs to keep teachers out of Social Security. The question I always ask is who is going to pay for it. There is 12.5 percent of salary that will have to be paid to Social Security. 6.25 percent will come from the teacher and the other 6.25 percent will have to come from state or local funds. If the state is going to pay into an IRA for teachers and have to pay for Social Security the cost to the state would be higher.
    There are also other benefits that need to be considered. When I die my wife would get 100 percent of the money. Under the Quinn plan she does not. When she dies my kids get to split $1,000,000. Under the Quinn plan they do not. The taxpayers of the state will not be on the hook for the teacher when he or she leaves teaching.
    What are your plans to try and keep educational funding from being cut more?
    I would ensure school funding by putting it at the top of the list. I do not believe that all cuts are created equally. We need to ensure state funding in areas that, if cut, would be replaced by property tax increases. Cuts need to occur in areas that do not have to be funded. I would start with welfare. The state of Illinois needs to make it more profitable to work than to collect public aid.
    Did Gov. Quinn have the right idea with his budget plans?
    It is good that the governor is looking to reduce state spending, but it seems that he wants to keep everything and underfund it all. The state needs to set priorities on what it wants to fund and then cut the rest. We should prioritize things that we cannot go without: schools, medical services, and roads.
    One of the largest and most concerning issues for the 106th district is the proposed closing of the Dwight correctional center. The governor has tried to close prisons before. The flaw with the governor’s plan is the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v. Plata, No. 09-1233, in May, 2011 which stated that prison populations in California could not be greater than 137.5 percent capacity. Some people think that it will not become a national issue but once the court sets precedent then it is only a matter of time until it is nationwide. Our prison system is already running above capacity. If the governor closes Dwight and someone sues under the 8th amendment where will the inmates go?
    The governor’s plan for additional Medicaid reimbursement cuts would be bad for rural Illinois. Many of our doctors receive a majority of their compensation from Medicaid reimbursements. If the state continues to decrease payments then the doctors will simply leave the area.
    Page 6 of 12 - What are some suggestions you have for fixing the budget crisis Illinois is facing?
    • Reduce welfare payments.
    • Build accountability into Medicaid. Take part of the welfare payment to non-working people and put it into a HSA that the person can have at the end of the year if he or she makes wellness visits and manages our state resources wisely.
    • Adopt my pension plan discussed earlier.
    • Instead of specific grants the state needs to give block grants to local governing bodies and the local government could figure out the best way to spend the dollars allocated to it.
    Name: Richard Thomas
    Age: 44
    Place of residence: Dwight
    Previous political experience: Although I have never held elected office, it is critical to note that I am the ONLY candidate with extensive, direct experience of the legislative process and know how to get bills passed in Springfield. Look at my political photos and videos on my website (www.VoteRichardThomas.com) with me shaping bills with senators and representatives. I have helped build coalitions on bills without big donations; just earnest, skilled persuasion. I am the ONLY candidate listing his donors on his website.
    Family: I have three grown children who are all attending college. I know firsthand the challenges and triumphs of raising a family with strong conservative values in the 106th District region. I have the time to be your FULL-TIME voice in Springfield.
    What issues, affecting Eureka specifically, need to be addressed?
    Eureka is a beautiful town with a grand heritage to pass on to the next generation. I will fight hard in Springfield to keep it that way. Regarding Eureka, I want to reach out to and listen to all community leaders and members on how to improve the business and educational environment. I want to reach out to people like Mayor Scott Punke, City Administrator Melissa Brown and Chief of Police Eric Luckey and listen to them on how I can help fight to keep government over-reach out of Eureka and the entire 106th District. I will champion local control for Eureka and all communities in District 106.
    How do you think the pension system needs reformed?
    We need to protect those who already paid into the system honoring our agreements or our credit rating will drop again. The future pension will have to be more budget predictable, but at the same time must not cause a brain-drain as our children need a 21st century education if we are to compete. I will sponsor a bill that the General Assembly cannot adjourn for the year until all pension and other financial obligations are paid. And I would like to add in that bill that 30 days out from the end of the legislative year, that 2 percent per day penalty be deducted from every senator’s and representative’s next year’s annual salary for every day all obligations are not paid for in the budget. The same should go for the governor. Losing up to 60 percent of next year’s pay in the span of 30 days would be a powerful motivator to pay the state’s obligations.
    Page 7 of 12 - What are your plans to try and keep educational funding from being cut more?
    Now more than ever we must find more and better ways to fund education, while ferreting out the waste, fraud and abuse that still plagues certain pockets of the education system. The Chicago Public School system is a gigantic yoke on our state and this valueless behemoth must be dealt with. Just as the space race and the GI Bill sparked a revolution in American education, we now desperately need a quantum leap forward in education if our children are to compete in the 21st century. I fully support parents being empowered to direct their children’s education. Under Obama, the U.S. drop-out rate is 30 percent. We the People MUST change this if we are to survive.
    Did Gov. Quinn have the right idea with his budget plans?
    Quinn has declared “open season” on District 106. He has targeted Dwight’s Female Correctional Facility to be closed when Illinois prisons are over-full now. Next he will target Dwight’s Fox Center and no doubt many other facilities that will devastate the entire 106th District. He has no real plans to reform Worker’s Comp., Medicaid, the estate tax, the pension or the myriad of other obstacles to our state being a pro-growth environment. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. The voter needs to send the strongest (and known) negotiator to Springfield … myself.
    What are some suggestions you have for fixing the budget crisis Illinois is facing?
    We need a pro-growth environment to keep and attract new jobs; which will then provide the revenue for a balanced budget. We need to first have a budget forensic audit of all government budgets. We need to start from a zero base line budget and then justify every dollar that goes in. And put it all on the Internet. Shedding the light of day on the whole budget will have at least some of the “rats” flee the ship before it completely sinks. After that, there will be budgetary pockets of resistance to make the needed changes. The taxpayers need to vote for the candidate who is not afraid of only serving one term … and that is me. I can always go back to nursing which I love. Everyone, save the taxpayer, is going to not like something about the forthcoming budgets IF it is to be balanced. We must balance the budget and gain fiscal responsibility or our state’s credit rating will fall again and the financial hole will be deeper. I am beholden ONLY to the people of the 106th District and I will protect their best interests. All of the five Republican candidates overlap in all the issues about 80 to 90 percent or how is the voter to decide? No other candidate comes close to the credentials and experience of myself. NO OTHER candidate has BA and MS degrees in Political Science (3.77), or is a veteran (former Army officer) or has legislative experience building coalitions between Democrats and Republicans towards passing bills. With the historic crisis going on at the capitol, the voter needs to vote for the ONLY candidate who can hit the ground running; me. See me in action at the capitol at www.VoteRichardThomas.com.
    Page 8 of 12 - Name: Brian Gabor
    Age: 39
    Place of residence: Pontiac
    Previous political experience:    City of Pontiac Alderman (9 years); Village Attorney for both Cornell and Cullom, IL
    Family: I am married to Deanndre (Lanckton). We do not have any children, but we do have a spoiled three legged golden retriever and numerous nieces and nephews.
    What issues, affecting Eureka specifically, need to be addressed?
    Based on people in Eureka that I have spoken to, I believe that the economy and jobs are the biggest thing on people’s minds these days.
    We must make Illinois more business friendly by repealing the governor’s 67 percent tax increase and reforming how we do business in Springfield. We must reduce the regulations and high cost of the Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Compensation programs the state mandates. Only by becoming competitive with our neighboring states will we attract new businesses to Illinois, which will bring new jobs and new taxpayers to our state, and that is the only way we will turn the economy around.
    How do you think the pension system needs reformed?
    Numerous things need to be done. First of all, members of the General Assembly must play by the same rules as everyone else. It is ridiculous that these senators and representatives get a full pension after 20 years when the average hard-working state employee must work 30 or 40 years (depending upon which system they are in) to get a full pension. Additionally, I think that new hires should not be put into a pension system. They should have a 401(k) plan, which most of the private sector employers have used for years. The state must honor its commitment to current retirees, but for current employees yet to retire, the way the pension payments are figured must be reformed. Instead of taking the highest paid four years of the last 10 years of service, I believe the pension should be based on an average of your pay throughout the entire term of years you were earning the pension. This would go a long way towards preventing people from racking up credits towards the pension at a low paying part-time job and then getting a “bump up” by getting a higher paid job at the end of their career.
    What are your plans to try and keep educational funding from being cut more?
    There are many areas of the budget that can be cut instead of school funding. I will deal with those ideas in the following two questions. I propose to make those cuts in the state budget and try to keep school funding where it is instead of balancing the budget on the backs of school children. I will fight attempts to further cut school funding.
    Page 9 of 12 - Did Gov. Quinn have the right idea with his budget plans?
    Gov. Quinn did absolutely not have the right idea with his budget plans. Gov. Quinn recognizes that we need to grow our economy to help us out of our fiscal mess. However, he fails to realize that it is his own policies that have led to businesses leaving the State of Illinois, taking jobs with them. As a direct result of Gov. Quinn’s 67 percent tax increase on personal income tax, as well as his tax increase on corporations, Illinois has lost upwards of 100,000 jobs in just one year.
    The governor also proposed several new spending projects. I am not going to get into a discussion here as to whether or not these new programs are good or bad ideas. That is a discussion for another day.
    However, I will oppose ANY new spending on ANY new programs at this time - regardless of their merit. Gov. Quinn tried to hide the facts by using the word “investment” numerous times throughout his speech. But make no mistake about it - when the governor uses the word investment, he means more spending. The governor’s speech was completely devoid of any discussion as to how to pay for this new spending. There was no discussion of cuts that we need to make, and he was very light on how to attract businesses and jobs to Illinois. Proposing new spending without any discussion on how to pay for it is exactly what got us into this mess to begin with. It is this type of thinking that, according to the Chicago Civic Federation, will lead us to have $35 billion in unpaid bills by 2017. This simply can not continue, and we must tighten our belts now and stop the spending.
    What are some suggestions you have for fixing the budget crisis Illinois is facing?
    I believe that we should start back at square one. Instead of arguing over what percentage to cut and where, we should start at a budget of zero and have every state department justify its budget to the General Assembly. Only by looking at the budget line by line will we be able to balance the state’s budget. Businesses and families must balance their budgets, and it is time that we demand the same from Springfield. Additionally, I think there are several programs and agencies that should be eliminated in total. These include the General Assembly Scholarship and Free/Reduced Rides for Seniors Programs. Further, there are certain agencies that are completely duplicative of federal agencies, including the IL EPA and the bank oversight agencies.
    We should not be in the business of doing the same work twice, and these agencies should be de-funded. Additionally, there are numerous boards that are populated by failed and retired politicians appointed by the governor. These boards often pay their members tens of thousands of dollars per year to do very little work. This should be a volunteer position, and should not be paid. The savings we would recognize in doing these things should not be spent - period. The savings should be used to reduce the deficit and to pay down debt. Additionally, if we once again become business friendly as discussed in the first question, we undoubtedly will attract new jobs to Illinois, and new taxpayers will go a long way to paying more taxes and helping to reduce the deficit and debt.
    Page 10 of 12 - Name: Adam Herrmann
    Age: 25
    Place of Residence: Eureka
    Previous political experience: None
    Family: Wife Kathy
    What issues, affecting Eureka specifically, need to be addressed?
    As a representative of the community of Eureka I will make sure that Community Unit School District 140 and both nursing home facilities receive all funding that the state has guaranteed. The services that are provided to our youth and our elderly must be protected. The state has a history of not paying its bills. I will not stand for this. I will fight to make sure that nothing impedes the learning of students at our community schools or the essential care that is provided by Maple Lawn Nursing Home and The Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka. Additionally, communities like Eureka depend on small businesses. Small businesses must have an economic environment that keeps them thriving and keeps people employed. As the 106th District Representative, I will strive to make sure an environment exists with a lower and more stable tax code, workers’ compensation reform, and enhancing access to capital.
    How do you think the pension system needs reformed?
    Illinois lawmakers have created a pension deficit that is unsustainable and jeopardizes the future of state employees. First, I would not change the benefits current retirees are receiving. We need to have differentiation between employees who are five years away from retirement and those that are five years into their employment. I propose a stair step approach with greater change occurring for newer employees and less for employees near retirement. I would work to implement a plan in which state employees could choose one of three options: they could choose to receive the same benefits with higher payments, reduced benefits with their current contributions or move to a defined contribution plan. We must also fight pension fraud because as we have seen recently individuals have flagrantly exploited the current system. Additionally, I want to end state funded pension for new general assembly members including myself.
    What are your plans to try and keep educational funding from being cut more?
    To prevent further educations cuts we must seriously address our financial burdens such as Medicaid and pensions. Our state has been unreliable at best in fulfilling its financial obligations. We must find alternate ways of funding our schools so that when the state does not pay up, students are not affected. I would look to the local communities for revenue solutions like fundraisers, grant opportunities, as well as school and business partnerships. As an educator I believe the best way to serve students is to give greater autonomy to local school districts. Communities have the strongest understanding of how to educate their youth. The state has been irresponsible; we must be able keep schools operational without relying on the state.
    Page 11 of 12 - Did Gov. Quinn have the right idea with his budget plans?
    No, for two reasons; first, his budget is not a shared effort. Secondly, Gov. Quinn displayed no real leadership on pension reform, instead yet another government committee was formed. I also do not believe the Dwight correctional facility should be shut down. The shut down creates an even more overcrowded Department of Corrections system as well as a devastatingly negative impact on the community of Dwight.
    What are some suggestions you have for fixing the budget crisis Illinois is facing?
    No new spending. It’s time for Illinois to take a timeout and get our fiscal house in order before we begin spending again. We want to encourage people to move to Illinois. This would mean having more businesses in Illinois, lower personal tax rates, and having one of the best education systems in the country. A larger tax base would allow Illinois to begin to fulfill its’ promises to citizens without increasing taxes of hardworking people. For Illinois to become more business friendly we must exhibit stability. Companies want a stable economic environment in which to operate. To do this, worker compensation must be reformed, the corporate tax rate needs to be decreased, and the tax code must be simple, benefiting both large corporations and small businesses.
    Candidates for State Senator of the 53rd Legislative District
    Name: Jason Barickman
    Age: 36
    Place of residence: Champaign
    Previous political Experience: State Representative since 2011
    Family: Wife Kristin, son August (9 months)
    What issues, affecting Eureka specifically, need to be addressed?
    The most pressing issue facing all areas of the state is retaining and creating jobs. Our state's business climate is not friendly to job creators. We need to lower taxes on business, enact meaningful workers compensation reform, reduce red tape, and eliminate the estate tax to preserve family farms and small businesses for future generations.
    How do you think the pension system needs reformed?
    I have stated publicly that those who are already retired and receiving benefits should not have those benefits diminished. I believe for those currently paying into the system, we need a solution hammered out with all sides at the table.
    What are your plans to try and keep educational funding from being cut more?
    Creating jobs, reforming pensions and our Medicaid system will free up more dollars to prevent cuts to education.
    Did Gov. Quinn have the right idea with his budget plans?
    The governor did a good job of outlining those problems facing our state. However, he provided little substance as to how he plans to address those problems, and instead discussed working groups and committees. While schools, social service providers and others are owed billions of dollars in unpaid bills, the governor did not put forward a realistic plan to pay them. Unfortunately, he proposed new spending and failed to demonstrate the leadership our state needs. It is important to note that this is only a proposal by the governor. It’s similar to his proposed budget last year, which included facility closures rather than tackling the tough spending issues facing the state. At the end of the day, last year’s adopted budget was fundamentally different than was proposed by the governor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s budget is a similar outcome.
    Page 12 of 12 - What are some suggestions you have for fixing the budget crisis Illinois is facing?
    Our state needs to enact better long-term budgeting and planning. Our current system of governing and budgeting “by crisis” only puts our states most vulnerable, our schools, and public safety services at risk to politics. I would support two-year budgets to help force the legislature into a long-term budgeting approach.
    Name: Shane Cultra
    Answers were not submitted.

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