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EDITORIAL BOARD QUESTIONNAIRES

Dan Caulkins

Republican candidate for Illinois House (101st district)

Dan Caulkins

Dan Caulkins

Republican candidate for Illinois House (101st district)

Education
Eastern Illinois University, B.S.-Business
Occupation
Self-Employed
Home
Decatur
Past Political/Civic Experience
EIU Board of Trustees (2014-Present) Decatur City Council (2005-2009)

Responses to our questions

Why do you think it has been so difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget passed and signed?

There is a significant difference in opinions and priorities between Republican and Democrat politicians in Springfield. I believe that the Republicans are trying their best to address Illinois' true spending priorities within a realistic projected income stream while the Democrats use the budget to benefit themselves and their friends. It's very difficult to find common ground when one side is not willing to honestly acknowledge our financial problems by making the hard choices necessary and then passing a truly balanced budget.

Do you believe the state budget can be balanced going forward without new sources of revenue?

Absolutely! Illinois has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Career politicians have failed to make the necessary cuts and prioritize spending. Our priorities should be to maximize our government's efficiency and provide services, where necessary, to the great citizens of Illinois.

What new sources, if any, would you support? Please be specific.

I would be open to voting for a new source of revenue, if and only if, there is a 100% guarantee that a new revenue source is associated with creating good paying jobs, ending out migration of our citizens, and bringing back citizens who have moved away due to our state's poor political and financial environment. More opportunities (created when less government is involved) in this state means more of a tax base (greater revenue). My main objective, once I am in Springfield, will be to decrease spending and pay our debts so we can attract and retain businesses which in turn leads to reducing the tax burden on our citizens.

Do you support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated income tax? Please explain.

NO! The Illinois Department of Revenue is predicting that Illinois could lose up to 20,000 private sector jobs, 43,000 people, and $1.9 million in GDP if a graduated income tax becomes law.

Please list five areas where you would cut spending.

  1. Eliminate programs that only benefit illegal immigrants and/or one portion of the state.
  2. Refine the managed care program in Illinois.
  3. Remodel the procurement process in Illinois.
  4. Move all agencies and their respective administrations back to Springfield, eliminate unnecessary satellite offices, and dispose of unused/excess property.
  5. Modernize our state's way of doing business and use technology to our advantage.

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?

We need to offer all of our state employees the opportunity to enroll in a 401K plan. The annual 3% automatic COLA needs to be eliminated and the Governor should be given more reign to re-negotiate contracts with the unions.

Should all new state workers be moved into defined contribution plans?

Yes.

What should the governor do to control pension costs during union contract talks? What would you do?

Both parties should come to an agreement that benefits both state employees and taxpayers. I would negotiate COLAs, pension plans, & retiree benefits in a reasonable manner.

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?

High taxes. High taxes are forcing retirees to move away, they make other states more enticing to middle class; growing families, are forcing businesses to close or move to more friendly states, and are keeping companies from investing in our great state because they can benefit more from being elsewhere.

What should Illinois do — via tax policy, spending or other policy means — to keep residents from leaving?

Illinois politicians should prioritize spending so that our most vulnerable are taken care of and government is eliminated where it is unnecessary. As State Representative, my main concern will be to get our outrageous spending under control, properly fund education, repair our infrastructure, pay our debts before taking on any new projects, and make our state more attractive to families and businesses.

What should Illinois do to promote job creation?

Worker's compensation rules critically need reformed to make Illinois more competitive with neighboring states and tort reform should most definitely be addressed. Our debts need to be paid and the state budget must be balanced. Companies that are currently located in this state and potential businesses looking to invest here need reassurance that they will not be stuck with the burdens of our corrupt career politicians' mistakes.

Did you support the education funding reform bill that the governor signed in 2017?

Not in its entirety.

What, if anything, should the legislature do to help Chicago Public Schools?

The legislature should insist that the city of Chicago's property values are properly assessed so that there is enough tax revenue generated to pay for their schools and teacher retirement plans.

Do you support opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill? Or will you try, if elected, to eliminate that program?

I'm open to learning more about opportunity scholarships. I support a parent's ability to choose the best form of education that they feel is necessary for their children. However, I am not comfortable, at this point, supporting or opposing opportunity scholarships.

Should Illinois do more to regulate campaign fundraising? If so, what?

The rules that Illinois' State Board of Elections have in place are good and transparent for our citizens. Campaign Disclosure is highly regulated in Illinois to the citizen's advantage. Therefore, I don't believe that campaign fundraising should be further regulated. I might support lowering the A-1 filings to $500 and require a monthly campaign D-1 report 1 and 2 months prior to any election, in addition to the quarterly reports. It should also be noted that the State Board of Elections are very good at providing guidance and information to anyone that might be interested in learning more about campaign donations and expenditures.

What help, if any, are you receiving from your party and its leaders, including staff help, advice, legal assistance, money and resources? Be specific.

None. The state party is not involved in any primary election unless it involves an incumbent.

If you are an incumbent, give an example of a time you worked across the aisle on an important issue.

N/A

If you are an incumbent, give at least one example of a time you did not vote with your party on a significant issue.

N/A

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 am in support of term limits and I would commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying my colleagues to bring term limits to Illinois.

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 support changes to the redistricting process in Illinois and would commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying my colleagues to reform the process.

Tell us a little about your family.

I am the oldest of 9 children and live in Decatur, Illinois where I was raised. My wife, Jo, and I have been married for 43 years. We are both Eastern Illinois University graduates, successful entrepreneurs, and very active in our community. Currently, I serve as a trustee to my Alma Mater, EIU, and on the Merit Board of the State Universities Civil Service Commission. For 22 years I proudly and honorably served in the United States Army. During my time on the Decatur City Council I played an integral part in saving taxpayers millions of dollars by opening up the bidding process for city worker's health insurance benefits, revitalizing the inner city, and hiring Ryan McCrady as the city manager.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I am a ten year cancer survivor and set a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Candidates for Illinois House (101st district)

REPUBLICAN