Republican candidate for Illinois House (62nd district)
Responses to our questions
Why do you think it has been so difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget passed and signed?
The problem isn't income; the problem is spending. State revenues increase from year to year, but the level of spending increases more dramatically. The current Speaker of the House refuses to tighten the State's belt, so he can give more money away and gain more political traction. As he once said, "My caucus is here to spend." With that kind of mission, nothing will get done until he is no longer Speaker.
Do you believe the state budget can be balanced going forward without new sources of revenue?
The State's budget needs to be balanced with no new sources of revenue. The more money given to Springfield, the more money will be spent. More revenues does not translate into a balanced budget.
What new sources, if any, would you support? Please be specific.
The Illinois Constitution demands a balanced budget. I would not support any new sources of revenue until we have eliminated all of the gross overspending.
Do you support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated income tax? Please explain.
The fairest, simplest tax system is the flat tax, which is what we have now. If we go to a graduated tax, then the lobbyists will sneak in exemptions and deductions until our state tax code will look like the federal tax code.
Please list five areas where you would cut spending.
- Medicaid- need annual Audits until corrected.
- Reduce layers of redundant layers of government.
- Implement Second Chance laws to reduce spending.
- Eliminate IL General fund education subsidies that are not based on district need.
- Examine the bloat at all levels of government.
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?
First- educate public employees on the status of their pension fund and the likelihood the pension system is on the edge of collapsing. I favor a self-directed 401K type program.
Should all new state workers be moved into defined contribution plans?
New workers should be enrolled into a 401(K) plan. Some workers may not have the knowledge to invest wisely so some consulting/advising may be necessary.
What should the governor do to control pension costs during union contract talks? What would you do?
The Governor is hamstrung until the State Legislature realizes how poorly their politician-controlled pension funds are performing.
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?
One of the major reasons for the exodus of current businesses is the current workmen's compensation system. Illinois has the seventh highest workers comp premium rate of all U.S. states. Why should a local business stay here when they can move to Indiana and save millions of dollars per year? When businesses move, people are going to follow. 29 Illinois businesses have moved to Kenosha County, just across the border in recent years. Illinois has great asset: roads, air and rail transportation; great places to live; good schools (outside of Chicago); and a world class city. But business is about making money, and when a new business looks at the tax and regulatory restraints of Illinois, the decision on where to place a new facility isn't going to be here. The ineptitude of our state legislature to come even close to a balanced budget resulting in increased income taxes and the highest property taxes in the United States are also a major factor.
What should Illinois do — via tax policy, spending or other policy means — to keep residents from leaving?
The significant turnover in state legislators this coming election season provides an opportunity to save Illinois from bankruptcy. Number one priority of our government (Illinois House, Illinois Senate and Governor) should be to reduce our wasteful spending and pass a balanced budget as required by the Illinois State Constitution.
What should Illinois do to promote job creation?
Over spending and over borrowing are a trademark for the state of Illinois and until this is brought under control jobs and residents will continue to flee Illinois. Mike Madigan and John Cullerton, who have spent 86 years in Springfield, have assisted the Unions of Illinois in gaining almost complete control of the budgeting process in Illinois and the citizens of Illinois have allowed this to happen. I will support strike prohibitions for most government employees; place limits on the subjects that can be negotiated; fix the workmen's compensation system and place limits on contract length and most importantly — worker freedom provisions.
Did you support the education funding reform bill that the governor signed in 2017?
I was not there to vote on this issue but I feel the vast majority of this bill was well written and I would have voted yes. However, I would have strongly opposed the $200,000,000.00 of our tax dollars that were used to bail out the Chicago Teachers Pension fund even though my wife is a Chicago teacher. The percentage of a Chicago teachers' paycheck that goes towards their pension system is significantly lower than what our teachers in Lake County pay and to cover this difference with our tax dollars is unreasonable.
What, if anything, should the legislature do to help Chicago Public Schools?
With thousands of Chicago downtown buildings being undervalued by the Cook County Assessor there is absolutely no justification for requesting additional funding from the overtaxed citizens of the rest of Illinois.
Do you support opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill? Or will you try, if elected, to eliminate that program?
I support this program and it is such a tiny portion of our state budget that eliminating it would have no impact on our taxes.
Should Illinois do more to regulate campaign fundraising? If so, what?
Today it is impossible to track most donations from the donor to the recipient. Overwhelming amounts of donated money are moved from account to account and then finally end up with a specific candidate and the voters of Illinois have no knowledge of where this money came from originally. I would support legislation that clarifies who is supporting whom by limiting the amount of money that can be redistributed by party leaders.
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 have received nothing from the Republican Party of Illinois.
If you are an incumbent, give an example of a time you worked across the aisle on an important issue.
I am not an incumbent
If you are an incumbent, give at least one example of a time you did not vote with your party on a significant issue.
I am not an incumbent
Do you support term limits? If so, will you commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying your colleagues on behalf of a constitutional change?
We already have term limits. The voters have the opportunity to replace either the governor, their state senator or their state representative on a regular basis.
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 current redistricting process borders upon being corrupt. I would definitely lobby my colleagues to correct this situation.
Tell us a little about your family.
I was born and raised in this District- one of 7 children, five kids and 4 grandchildren. Mom and Dad are 89 & 90 and live close.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I am a MALE Breast Cancer survivor ;-)
Candidates for Illinois House (62nd district)
- Ken Idstein
- Adam Solano (No survey)