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Issues

 

The State of Illinois faces many complex issues, and the solutions aren't easy (if they were, we'd have enacted them by now).  The right answer for some may be the wrong answer for others.  When addressing these, the first question to ask is, "What's best for the people of Illinois?"  

 

Tax Reform

The people of Illinois need a fair and affordable tax system. Our current tax system is a burden on Illinois families and needs to change.  As I've talked with people, the number one complaint, by far, is how high our property taxes are.  I've also heard the argument that on the whole (property tax, sales tax, income tax, etc) our tax burden is in line with other midwestern states, but the fact is we have people - especially retirees - who don't know how much longer they will be able to live in the home they've worked their whole lives to buy.  Illinois relies more heavily on property taxes to fund public education than any other state.  I propose a "tax swap" - lower property taxes, and make up the revenue from other sources - such as a graduated income tax and/or a small tax on financial transactions. Such a swap will also benefit seniors - their property taxes would go down, but since most retirement income is not taxed in Illinois, they would not see any increase in their income tax.

I will fight for a fair and progressive tax structure allowing middle-class families to keep more of their income.  I would favor a system where those earning less than $50K/yr would pay less, those in the $50-150K range would continue at the current rate, and those earning over $150K/yr would be asked to contribute more.

Giving tax breaks to the lower and middle class means more money for them to spend on the necessities of life.  They will be buying food and clothing for their families, they will be able to pay rent or a mortgage, they may even be able to get a new car.  All of these go to help our local economy.  An investment in these folks results in a nearly 100% return (or actually a lot more when you consider that local merchants will then spend many of their profits locally as well). Investing in the upper class, however, results in considerably lesser return, as they may invest overseas, take European vacations, buy imported goods.  A strong working class, powered by a livable wage, is the most efficient way to drive our economy forward.

 


Budget

Illinois had a 2 year budget impasse that affected our state financially and hit the citizens of Illinois the hardest. As a member of the DeKalb county board, I have experience working with members of both parties to pass a fair and balanced budget. A budget impasse is costly both financially and to the citizens of Illinois who rely on social services and education. I will work to make sure a budget impasse never happens in the state again. 


Education

Education funding in the state of Illinois relies to heavily on property taxes which not only creates a burden for Illinois families but also creates inequitable education funding in the state. I believe that the state needs to invest more in education to make sure that every child receives a fair and quality education.

Higher Education:

As a retired professor, I know the importance of higher education funding. I will work to make sure that a budget impasse which heavily affected higher education never happens again in the state of Illinois.

Without proper funding, Illinois schools lack the resources to stay competitive to attract out-of-state students and to recruit students in-state as well.  

I also believe that education should be affordable and attainable to all.

 

Access Bill:

Paul supports the Access Bill (HB2394) which is co-sponsored by members of both parties including former IL-70th Representative, Bob Pritchard. This bill provides equal access for students to apply for scholarships and does not require any additional funding from the state. 

 


Reform Springfield

Fair Elections

We need a functioning government, accountable to the people.  The first step in achieving this is to ensure that our electoral process gives us a government that truly represents the people and not outside interests - including the political parties.

  • End Political Gerrymandering: 

“Fair map” redistricting. Political parties use gerrymandering to ensure they keep their power. This too often results in districts that are not competitive (so the office holders don’t have to be as responsive to constituent needs), and in legislatures that don’t accurately reflect the demographic and political makeup of the state. A bi-partisan group needs to be empowered to draw new districts that result in fair and accurate representation.

  • Local Funding of Campaigns:

 All money raised for a political campaign should be raised in the district. Outside parties have no business influencing local elections. Why should the Koch brothers (KS) or George Soros (NY) or the NRA (Fairfax, VA) or the Sierra Club (Oakland, CA), for example, have any say on who we in northern Illinois elect? If local chapters of groups like these raise money locally to contribute, that’s fine, but national organizations don’t have our best interests in mind when they try to influence our elections.

Increase bipartisanship in Springfield

The budget stalemate of 2-3 years ago was a result of a breakdown in cooperation, and communication, between the parties, and between the legislature and the Governor.  The stalemate forced many service agencies out of business, pushed several of our state universities to the brink of shutting down, and unnecessarily increased Illinois' deficit by billions of dollars.  We cannot afford to maintain the toxic atmosphere in Springfield that results from our elected representatives putting the good of themselves and the party above the good of the people. We need to return Lincoln's government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" to the people.

I will work to advance several initiatives for making our representatives accountable to the people, rather than their party:

  • Term Limits on Leadership

While I don't favor term limits in general, I do think putting limits on how long officials keep their leadership positions makes sense.  General term limits tells districts who they can and can't have as their representatives.  Leadership limits, however, doesn't prevent districts from electing their favored candidates, but does guarantee a turnover in the "ruling class" in Springfield, which would allow for fresh faces and new ideas to rise.

  • Split Leadership

Currently, one person can be both the leader of his/her party, and of a branch of government.  This allows for too heavy a concentration of power.  I would work for splitting these leadership roles - one could be a party leader or a legislative leader, but not both.

  • Power Sharing

In most elected bodies, from Congress to the State House to county boards and city councils, the majority party controls all the committees.  When I first joined the DeKalb County Board, I successfully pushed to change that.  Now each party controls a number of committees in proportion to their representation on the board.  DeKalb typically has a 13-11 split, so the majority party gets 4 standing committees, and the minority party gets 3.  This gives the minority party an active role in governing and a chance to bring legislation important to them to the full board.  In practice, this has led to more communication and more cooperation between the parties, and better governance for the people of DeKalb County.  I will work to bring this type of change to Springfield.

These will be uphill battles, to be sure.  Getting to the top won't be easy.  But if we don't try, it will be impossible to make the changes we need.

 

 



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