Democratic candidate for Illinois House (47th district)
Responses to our questions
Why do you think it has been so difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget passed and signed?
Politifact reported on March 17, 1917 "The word 'balanced' seems to have become a politically malleable term. And not just with Rauner," according to Chris Mooney, director of the Institute ofGovernmentandPublicAffairs attheUniversityofIllinois,n otingformerDemocraticGovs. Pat Quinn, Rod Blagojevich and others have bent the meaning. "It is in some sense institutionalized and hidden by all the special funds. So does the proposed budget have expenditures equal to revenues in clear, concrete and plausible terms? It doesn't look like it. "I think the term has been stretched so far by both sides of the aisles and both branches over recent years," Mooney added, that he would "hardly blame" the governor for "playing this ongoing political word game."
I think over the two and a half years with no budget in the state, Governor Rauner's ego got the best of him making it impossible for him to work like a politician and compromise. He didn't seem to understand how to get out of the Chief Executive of a company who is beholden to shareholders and learn the role of Governor/Public Servant beholden to the people of Illinois.
Do you believe the state budget can be balanced going forward without new sources of revenue?
The state has to create new forms of revenue in order to come close to balancing the budget.
What new sources, if any, would you support? Please be specific.
I support two. One is SB1970 or "The LaSalle St. Tax" also called a financial transaction tax. It take one line of code to implement. It is a $1.00 charge on agricultural trades and $2.00 on all other trades at the MERC and the CBOT. 11 countries in the European Union either have a FTT or will be implementing one soon. The tax is highly progressive. Three-quarters of the tax falls on the highest-income 20 percent of households, and 40 percent would be paid by taxpayers in the top 1 percent. It's not quite the "Robin Hood Tax" that some proponents claim — some of the burden would fall on middle-income investors and retirees — but it's pretty progressive.
The second revenue stream I support is the legalization, regulation, and taxation of cannabis. In Colorado's first year after legalization the state Department of Revenue reported that official sales of recreational and medical marijuana from dispensaries generated $135 million in tax revenue.[Wikipedia] Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the Federal DEA, therefore no federal banks can touch the business so it is still a cash business leaving dispensaries vulnerable. A State bank could solve that problem but then the problem with a State bank is it would not have FDIC insurance. A few things to work out.
Do you support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated income tax? Please explain.
I most certainly support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated income tax! The flat tax we have now hurts low income people disproportionately.
Please list five areas where you would cut spending.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, "On a per capita basis, no state government employs fewer people than Illinois. No state picks up a smaller percentage of local education bills. Per patient Medicaid spending is well below national norms. And the pile of debt now owed to state administered public pension systems is staggering." "There's not a lot of room to easily maneuver," said James Nowlan, a former Republican state legislator and co-author of "Fixing Illinois: Politics and Policy in the Prairie State." "You can't do as much as you think you can." ~Crain's
Since the Illinois Supreme Court's 2015 decision tossing bipartisan pension reform, what can and should the legislature do to control pension costs, if anything?
The pension debt will need to be re-amortized. I support the Mortire plan which in layman's terms refinances 90% of the 130 billion dollars owed by the State. The refinance is a 44 year loan to pay down the state's unfunded pension liability. The state also has to pay the yearly amount due to the pension fund in order for the fund to remain solvent.
Should all new state workers be moved into defined contribution plans?
I thought all new workers have to take the defined contribution plan and some workers who have been around for a while can opt in.
What should the governor do to control pension costs during union contract talks? What would you do?
The Governor should negotiate in good faith rather than trying to bust the union. To control pension costs during negotiations I would honor the current contract until the new contract is signed by both sides.
Illinois lost more residents than any other state in 2016 and the trend appears to be holding for 2017. What is the No. 1 reason, in your opinion, for the exodus?
Taxes are too high. Our personal property taxes have almost doubled since 2002. For people on a fixed income that's a deal breaker.
What should Illinois do — via tax policy, spending or other policy means — to keep residents from leaving?
Freeze Property taxes for Seniors, Disabled, and defer property taxes for people who are out of work or who are out on a long illness.
What should Illinois do to promote job creation?
Invest in clean and green energy! It has to be done at some point - why not now!!
Did you support the education funding reform bill that the governor signed in 2017?
I don't support all of it, but I don't think anyone supports everything in that bill. That's what makes it a great bill. If everybody is a little unhappy, everybody compromised, and that is how government should work.
What, if anything, should the legislature do to help Chicago Public Schools?
Leave that bill alone.
Do you support opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill? Or will you try, if elected, to eliminate that program?
I do not support the so called opportunity scholarships in the funding reform bill, but I don't think I would try to eliminate the program, on the other hand, I don't think I would vote for anything else that smells of school voucher.
Should Illinois do more to regulate campaign fundraising? If so, what?
Spending caps!! A State Rep. race should not be for sale to the person who has the most money. Actually NO race should be for sale to the person who has the most money. The money issue is a thing that keeps some of the best and brightest out of the political arena.
What help, if any, are you receiving from your party and its leaders, including staff help, advice, legal assistance, money and resources? Be specific.
I am getting NOTHING from the party at this time.
If you are an incumbent, give an example of a time you worked across the aisle on an important issue.
If you are an incumbent, give at least one example of a time you did not vote with your party on a significant issue.
Do you support term limits? If so, will you commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying your colleagues on behalf of a constitutional change?
I do not support term limits, if people don't like me they will vote me out. When people talk about term limits I think they are talking about someone who has been in office for forty years, I don't think I'll live 40 more years.
Do you support changes to the redistricting process? If so, will you commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying your colleagues on behalf of a constitutional change?
I am in favor of having an independent council draw district maps. Things I've read say the shape of the gerrymandered districts doesn't matter as much as we would like to think. Let's ask Peter Roskam about gerrymandered districts on November 7th. The IL-6 was drawn to be a red district from the get go, and it seems very likely it will go blue anyway.
Tell us a little about your family.
I met my husband at Christmas time, 1986 in Hong Kong, we've been together ever since. He is the smartest person I've ever known. I am blessed to have such a good and kind husband who encourages my independence. We have two wicked smart, gorgeous, fun kids. Alana graduated from the University of Southern California last May with an Industrial & Systems Engineering degree. She is continuing her studies in the liberal arts, languages and history. She is considering a Ph.D. in Middle East Studies. Andy has two semesters left at USC where he will have a major in Political Science and a Minor in History. He worked on a big campaign in CA-26 and is weighing his options for the upcoming year.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I love to teach and help people, and I'm a bit of a safety nerd. I've taught older people who are afraid of the water how to swim. I've been a sailing instructor where students love/hate the "man-overboard" drill day. I teach yoga to help people calm their mind and mind their body. I teach all kinds of water based therapy for Seniors, and people with various diseases and disabilities. When I walk into a building I look for the AEDs.
Candidates for Illinois House (47th district)
- James M. "Jim" Caffrey (No survey)
- Anne Sommerkamp