Joshua L. Griffith
Republican candidate for Illinois House (93rd district)
Responses to our questions
Why do you think it has been so difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget passed and signed?
I think that it has been difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget because of the refusal to address the real issue of many years of mismanagement. We continue to tax and spend and do very little to fix or make the changes needed to balance the budget. We have made promises within the pension system that have become a problem because the money is not there to pay what was promised. The system needs to be completely overhauled to make it realistic for a balanced budget to be passed.
The atmosphere in Springfield is controlled by bureaucrats and lobbyist. We have been governed by a one-party system controlled by Mike Madigan and the Chicago Democrats since 1983. The reality of our failed system has finally exposed the Ponzi scheme known as government pensions. The issue with the current system is the way our districts in Illinois have been gerrymandered to keep the big government, progressive Democrats in office. Currently legislators are owned by powerful unions that take money from their employees to keep the favors coming by padding the pockets of their political counterparts.
Do you believe the state budget can be balanced going forward without new sources of revenue?
I do believe that the budget can be balanced moving forward without adding new sources of revenue. Illinois has never had a revenue problem, rather we have a spending problem. I propose we follow the penny plan idea that Rep. Connie Mack and Sen. Mike Enzi introduced to the federal government in 2011. The 1 Percent Solution is simple as it sounds. The reduction will come from spending, not the baseline budget. If we introduce this legislation in Illinois then next year's outlays will be 1% less than this year's, and so on. We will continue this until we have cut 6% of our spending and put a cap on our spending of no more the 18% of the GDP.
What new sources, if any, would you support? Please be specific.
Candidate did not respond
Do you support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated income tax? Please explain.
I do not support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated tax income. I was not in support of the permanent increase of 32% in July and support a repeal of that increase. A graduated income tax increase is not the answer to fixing budgetary issues. Lets begin with calling this tax what it is. It is a progressive tax. A progressive tax will force more of our companies and individuals out of our state, only causing more of the exodus that we are currently dealing with. Currently Illinois receives the largest amount of taxes from those making between $100k-500k a year, which is only 18% of Illinois taxpayers. This group of earners shell out 41% of all income taxes paid in Illinois. It is fiscally irresponsible and morally wrong to make the top 19% pay 64% of all the income taxes in the state of Illinois, and then attempt to introduce a constitutional amendment to take more. No more taxes. We need to start living within our means and reward people for their success.
Please list five areas where you would cut spending.
I would cut spending in the following areas.
- I would support a repeal of HB 40 and end taxpayer-funded abortions on demand.
- I would also push to repeal the Trust Act and take away funding for us becoming a sanctuary state.
- I would look to end pension pickups and support legislation that would ensure teachers were paying their own share of the cost of their pension.
- I would support legislation that would stop state subsidies that fuel excess spending at the local level.
- I would look to eliminate unnecessary administrators in the bloated higher education system.
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?
There needs to be a complete overhaul of the pension system. Currently it is a broken system in which we are promising money to retirees that we cannot realistically pay out. I think that there needs to be consolidation of our many layers of unnecessary government. Consolidation of the many layers of government will eliminate some of the excess costs of future pensions. We should consolidate school districts, increase the retirement age, and put all new government employees in the SMRP.
Should all new state workers be moved into defined contribution plans?
I believe that all new state workers should be moved into a self managed style 401K plan. This would allow the individual to have control of the plan and take pressure off of taxpayers. The state worker would benefit tremendously in this program. The state will be unable to cheat them out of their retirement and it is transferable in the event that the worker decides to change careers.
What should the governor do to control pension costs during union contract talks? What would you do?
Educate the public of how much the pensions are costing the taxpayers and the reality of the unfunded liability. I would hold town halls and focus groups seeking input from economic advisors, business owners, and community leaders on the impact of unfunded pension liabilities and what we can do to get the issue under control
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?
I believe that people are leaving Illinois because we are the highest taxed state in the nation. Our high property taxes, increased income tax, and the high corporate tax make it difficult for families to stay. This is especially true when neighboring states offer a better living and business environment fiscally.
What should Illinois do — via tax policy, spending or other policy means — to keep residents from leaving?
I think that the first thing that needs to happen is the 32% tax increase from last year's budget bill needs to be repealed. This would put the money back in the pockets of the hard working taxpayers. The second thing that needs to happen is that we need to put a 1% hard cap on property taxes. This would again give families a reason to stay knowing that there taxes on their property would not continue to go up every year.
What should Illinois do to promote job creation?
I really believe that job creation can be promoted if you take away some of the over-regulated laws that are in place for businesses. With some of the highest workman's compensation rates in the nation, it really discourages businesses from operating in Illinois. Combine that with a very high corporate tax rate and we now have two solid reasons for businesses to not operate in Illinois. Job creation is very difficult to make happen without businesses to offer jobs. Reforming workman's compensation program and lowering the corporate tax rate would be a great start to promoting job creation.
Did you support the education funding reform bill that the governor signed in 2017?
I believe that if local school districts are being supported by the state, as is constitutionally required, there needs to be accountability as well. For decades, the failing Chicago Public Schools have proven they can't educate kids successfully.
What, if anything, should the legislature do to help Chicago Public Schools?
CPS needs accountability to the state so we don't continue to spend money on approaches that don't work.
Do you support opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill? Or will you try, if elected, to eliminate that program?
I support the opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill. It is important that there are Opportunities for families to have options where their children attend school. The opportunity scholarship promotes a great education where the focus is on the student, not on tenure. We owe it to our community to give our children the best opportunity to succeed and the best investment that can be made is in a solid foundation. As a former administrator of a Christian school, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how well a child develops when they have the education and commitment from educators that are focused on the whole child - body, mind, and soul.
The best way to get a balanced budget is to promote more programs like the opportunity scholarship. People enjoy sponsoring a system that is bringing rewards, they don't enjoy being forced by bureaucrats to pay for excessive waste.
Should Illinois do more to regulate campaign fundraising? If so, what?
I do not believe that the state of Illinois should do more to regulate campaign fundraising. The reason I feel this way is that it will add more government and more burden on the taxpayer.
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 receiving no support from the Republican party. I have contacted all of the county chairman to ask for their support, to date I have not received any help from the ILGOP or been in contact with any of the party members.
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 firmly believe that there needs to be term limits. If I am elected I will serve no more than 4 terms.
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?
The gerrymandering of our current political districts should be criminal. I will support a map that is simple to understand and has a mix of all different kinds of people, race, gender, political class. I would like to see our new maps as simple blocks, like a plat book.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am married to my wife of 15 years. We have 5 children, ranging in age from 14 to 3 (4 boys and 1 girl). Our children are very active in sports, playing baseball and basketball. We love the outdoors and try to camp and fish as much as possible in the summer.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
This is my first attempt at running for office. I never even ran for student council in school.
Candidates for Illinois House (93rd district)
- Joshua L. Griffith
- Norine K. Hammond (No survey)