* Yesterday, I asked you to submit questions to Republican gubernatorial candidates. Later in the day, I e-mailed almost all of the campaigns (I absent-mindedly omitted Jim Ryan, but I’ll post any response he has) and asked them to pick one or two questions and provide us a detailed response. I also asked the two top Democratic candidates for their responses.
Here they are, with the questions in bold to make this easier to read…
* Sen. Kirk Dillard…
How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?
I give the Republican Party the best chance of winning in November because my unique experience in all three branches of Government will enable me to bring more jobs to Illinois, balance our State budget, and clean up Springfield. As Governor Jim Edgar’s Chief of Staff I helped manage state government during a recession. We inherited a mountain of debt, balanced the budget and left a surplus of $1.6 billion all without an income tax increase. My plan to create a “Destination Economy” will be the most aggressive job creation program in state history.
I have the privilege of having been educated and having lived in all regions of the state – Chicago, the suburbs and downstate. The amount of fundraising and volunteer support I have received from across the state shows that I am not a regional candidate. While I am a suburbanite, I have strong downstate roots and am the best Republican candidate to attract minorities, Reagan Democrats and Independent voters to the party. Last, my ability to work with all types and factions is absolutely essential to passing important reforms and creating new jobs in Illinois.
* Andy McKenna…
[Note from Rich: This was sent by McKenna’s staff, so it’s unfair to make the suggestion as some have in comments that McKenna is referring to himself in the third person.]
1. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:31 am: How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?
A. After decades of political insiders controlling the levers of power in Springfield, Illinois, families are looking for an outsider like Andy McKenna who has the personal integrity and business background to revitalize our economy and put our house back in order.
Andy’s charitable and civic contributions prove he possesses a selfless commitment to his community and belief that everyone deserves a fair shot.
These qualities provide a credible alternative to either Democratic candidate who both represent the tax and spend ways that have dominated Springfield for far too long.
Andy is committed to reigning in out of control government spending, holding the line on taxes, growing good-paying jobs, and cleaning up the ethical mess in Springfield.
It is clear that whoever the Democratic nominee is will have to contend with the 3 issues: 1.) that they want to raise taxes; 2.) the Blagojevich factor; and 3.) the over-zealous spending that has occurred under the watch of Democrats.
If Republicans nominate a candidate for governor that is indistinguishable on these issues they will not be successful in 2010.
Andy McKenna is a true outsider who does not have ties to special interests and has the proven ability to stand up for what he believes is right and fix the mess in Springfield
* DuPage County Board President Bob Schillerstrom…
Q: What are some successes in your professional life that indicate how you will govern should you be elected?
A: I think that the most compelling reason to vote for me for Governor is the successful record that I have built as the Chairman of a county larger than six states. I’ve demonstrated over eleven years a commitment to efficient, well-run government that provides a high level of service to its residents. That stands in stark contrast to the manner in which the state of Illinois has been run.
Under my leadership, DuPage County has cut property taxes seven out of the last ten years, balanced our budget every year, maintained the highest possible bond rating- AAA, and cut wasteful spending to the point that our current proposed budget is less than it was in 2002. We have developed successful public-private partnerships to encourage job growth, expand access to healthcare and reduce the cost of prescription drugs. My record over the last decade shows that I have the skills and the will necessary to get our state back on track and provides a good indication of how I would govern if elected Governor.
Q: How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?
A: I agree with a number of my primary opponents that the Republican nominee must provide a stark contrast to the Democrats in order to win in November. But, I think the best way to do that is to provide a contrast in records and results. The Democrats have had absolute control of state government for the last six years and our state is a financial mess and a laughing-stock. Conversely, as Chairman of a county larger than six states I have shown that with good leadership, government can reduce spending, engage in long-range planning, cut property taxes attract good jobs and still deliver good services to its residents. I have led a fiscally conservative and responsible government for the last eleven years that stands in stark contrast to the governance of the State of Illinois or Cook County.
Secondly, I provide Republicans with a better chance of victory in November, because I am the only centrist Republican in the primary field. Over the last decade, Illinois has become more and more Democratic. We need a Republican nominee who can attract swing suburban voters who tend to be fiscally conservative but are moderates on social issues. I think that my record and my centrist views give me a better chance of attracting those key voters and winning in November.
* Sen. Bill Brady…
- ilrino - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:15 am: Senator Brady: Your campaign is all about not raising taxes but reviving the economy by bringing back the 700,000 jobs Illinois has lost. How do you bring back 700,000 jobs and how quickly will they be restored to revive the economy?
Ilrino, the 700,000 jobs Illinois has lost is over ten years time. Obviously, it is my goal to restore these jobs as quickly as possible. I believe the best way to do that is, by offering incentives for new businesses to come to Illinois and existing businesses to stay in Illinois.
Last week, I launched my statewide jobs tour in which I highlighted my plan to offer tax incentives to businesses — large and small — that create new jobs. Every job in Illinois generates $4,200 for the state. I will give up to half that back to a business for every new job it creates. I believe $2,100 per new job will go a long way in helping business owners, while also getting an unemployed Illinois resident back to work.
I will also expand Illinois’ EDGE tax credit to apply to payroll taxes in addition to income taxes. This will especially help new and small business owners, who typically don’t make money in their first couple years in business.
- Kang - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 4:38 pm: As Governor, will you abolish the death penalty or re-instate the death penalty? Reform or further study answers must be interpreted as dodges given that the commission’s findings and recommendations have been out there for several years now.
Kang, As Governor I will lift the death penalty moratorium put in place by former Governor George Ryan nearly a decade ago. I support the death penalty for the most heinous offenses, but will ensure adequate safeguards are in place to prevent innocent people from being put to death.
- Anon - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:31 am: How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?
Anon, Illinois needs a clean break from the Chicago-style politics and politicians of the past. As the only downstate candidate in the race for Governor, I offer that change. I am also the only candidate with both business and legislative experience. I will run Illinois like a business, balancing our budget and making sure we live within our means like Illinois families and small businesses do.
* Comptroller Dan Hynes…
1) - Justice - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:27 am: Give us just two examples, with detail, of how you would trim the budget to help make up for the revenue shortfall. Give us two examples of what you would do to increase revenue in the short term, and if they are tax increases will they have a sunset clause?
As Comptroller, I offered Governor Quinn numerous ideas for how we can cut waste out of government. As a candidate for Governor, I have put together a comprehensive plan to address the state’s massive budget deficit. The first step in my plan is to cut more than $1.6 billion in spending. Among the specific cuts (the entire plan is available for viewing at my website, www.danhynes.com) is firing half of the Blagojevich political appointees making more than $70,000, saving roughly $100 million. Before anyone says this is a weak example, let me remind you that many of these folks have been instrumental in driving our state into the ditch we’re in, so not only is this a cost-saving measure, it’s a chance to improve performance. I am also advocating for the elimination of discretionary contracts for such things as tourism and lottery advertising, time-keeping systems, and other professional services. Collectively, these contract reductions would save the state upwards of $300 million a year. Additionally, I believe we need to scale back operations spending to 2005 levels. Now some may say, “How do you do that without reopening union contracts?” I have done it in my office. In fact, operations spending in my office is below 2001 levels and I have never reopened a union contract.
In terms of revenue enhancements, the second part of my plan includes expanding the sales tax to include luxury services; increasing the cigarette tax by $1.00 and then using those proceeds to obtain $1.5 billion bonding, which would trigger a federal match of at least $1.5 billion (I think this is the kind of strategic, long range planning that is missing at the moment); competitively bidding additional casino licenses; returning the tax on casinos to 70 percent for certain income levels; and leasing unused or dormant gaming positions to busier casinos. These things could be done immediately (as the question asked) to help address the revenue shortfall. However, the ultimate solution is to make our tax structure fairer, and the best way to do that is to implement a graduated income tax.
2) - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:49 am: 2 part question
1. Why are you good for the people of IL?
We are currently in the midst of the worst fiscal crisis in the history of Illinois and we aren’t getting the leadership we need to get out of the mess. Whether it’s careening from crisis to crisis or switching positions on key issues from one day to the next, Governor Quinn has not been a steady and consistent leader, and it’s taking its toll. I offer the people of Illinois a record of fighting for fiscal discipline, even when it means taking on leaders in my own party, and a desire and a plan for returning Illinois to prosperity.
2. What was Judy thinking?
The best I can think is that she thought, perhaps, a loss to Rod in 2006 would open the door in 2010 to the Illinois dream job: Comptroller. I wish her well, but unfortunately for her, I feel pretty good about either David or Raja carrying the torch.
…ADDING… Gov. Pat Quinn…
Illinois has seemingly abandoned economic development - specifically business attraction, entrepreneur/small business development and foreign direct investment. Also, other states are aggressively trying to get Illinois companies to move/relocate because of the Illinois business climate. What are your thoughts and/or solutions?
This recession has been tough on Illinois. Our agriculture and auto industries have been hard-hit. The economy is changing, and we must change with it if Illinois is to succeed in the worldwide competition for good jobs. Under my economic plan, Jobs and Growth for Illinois, we will go beyond infrastructure investments – important as they are – to expand Illinois’ business base and attract new investment.
Today, for example, Illinois is the sixth-leading state in exports. Since 2002, exports have represented the greatest growth segment in the Illinois economy, increasing from $25 billion to nearly $54 billion last year. We need to build on that success and invest in expansion of Illinois’ overseas markets for agricultural products, manufactured goods and services to create new jobs here at home and generate new state revenues.
Part of that strategy includes making broadband available and affordable for everyone in Illinois. It’s hard to imagine running a small business with international clients using a dial-up service. The internet opens huge worldwide opportunities to entrepreneurs in every corner of the globe, and we want to make sure that Illinois businesses aren’t left out.
My focus on creating green jobs and investing in new sources of sustainable energy will help Illinois businesses keep their energy costs low so they can invest in expansion. And because green energy is local energy, green energy jobs, by definition, cannot be exported.
To make sure we have knowledgeable business owners and skilled workers, I believe we need to invest more in community colleges, which are the gateway to the middle class. Illinois Jobs Now! includes $400 million for community colleges, which provide the technical training for young people and adult workers to find good jobs in the new economy. Going forward, we need to identify funding sources to invest even more in Illinois community college system and its students.
…ADDING… Dan Proft…
In 250 words or less, what does the IL-GOP stand for?
For 30 years or more both parties have been fiscally irresponsible, what is your plan to get the state back on the road to solvency?
I am not sure what the ILGOP stands for today. But here’s what we should stand for—and who we should stand for:
What we should stand for is policy revolution in Springfield—and I mean revolution. We should offer a complete rethinking and reordering of all of the big-ticket systems in state government (Medicaid, K-12, transportation infrastructure, pensions), not a single one of which is financially sustainable in current form and not a single one of which who serves the people who play by the rules in Illinois—the folks that pay the bills but get gamed by a system that provides very little in return in terms of services or benefits.
Which leads to our second task: defining our constituency and then serving that constituency. The Democrats have clearly defined their constituency: public sector unions, trial lawyers. And they have demonstrated the willingness to do whatever it takes to serve that constituency and finance it.
As I alluded to above, our constituency must be people who play by the rules in Illinois.
I am speaking of those who budgeted for the home they bought and pay their mortgage on time but are still on the hook to finance the irresponsible actions of others.
I am speaking of those who have seen their 401Ks take significant hits and yet are still responsible to finance multiple public pensions for the politically connected.
I am speaking of the small businesses with less than 100 employees who create 95% of the jobs in Illinois and who don’t get bailed out when they make a bad strategic decision or suffer bad luck in the marketplace.
I am speaking of those families who told their children to take their scholastics seriously so they could get into a quality state university that mom and dad could afford and instead have been subject to a system that provides admission to those with superior clout over those with superior academic records.
Democrats speak in the parlance of “shared sacrifice”. Republicans must argue, as I have, that people who play by the rules in Illinois have sacrificed more than their fair share only to be scammed in return. Republicans must speak be conversant in the language of “expanded opportunity” both to re-establish the party’s brand and to re-establish the state’s fiscal sustainability:
We must cut taxes and impose statutory spending caps to expand opportunity for entrepreneurs; to reward work and investment; and to restrain the public sector from crowding our private sector capital formation and job creation.
We must end the discrimination of children based on their household income and their address when it comes to the quality of schools they can access. If we change how the money flows and change who gets to make spending decisions, we can expand opportunity for the children of low-income families to earn the kind of quality education that sets them on the path to be successful, independent adults. What if the ILGOP was willing to tie its electoral fortunes to the aspirations low-income families have for their children based on the quality of schooling they were able to obtain? That would be a party with a value proposition. That would be a party that we could be proud of. That would be a party that could be the majority party in Illinois again.
We must connect Medicaid-eligible Illinoisans (1.7 million in total) to health care providers. If we created premium assistance programs that provide low-income folks with the opportunity to purchase health insurance in the private marketplace and empower them to manage their health care decisions like anyone else, we would improve the quality of care Medicaid recipients receive while instituting cost-containment incentives that respect Illinois taxpayers who finance they system.
The time for tinkering on the margins in state government has long since passed. If we are serious about reforming state government and making Illinois a vibrant, growth state again we must: (1) drastically alter the tax/spend/borrow policies that drive our economic climate and drive the cost structure we present to business; and (2) we must offer a specific policy vision that rethinks the incentives provided and the obligations imposed by the big-ticket systems in state government so that those systems produce outputs that demonstrably improve the quality of life for Illinois residents.
* The Question: How would you rate their responses?