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Illinois House District 78, Democratic Primary

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The questions

All candidates were invited to respond to questionnaires, although not all chose to participate. Click on a candidate's name to see the unedited response to each question.

Biographical information & experience
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation: State Representative of the 78th House District/State of Illinois and Vice President of External Affairs and Development/Loretto Hospital
Marital status: Single
Spouse: N/A

Education:

I am a graduate of Oak Park River Forest High School. I received my BS in Management/Marketing from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, and my Master of Hospital Administration from Oklahoma University. I am currently working on my Executive MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

I am the former executive director and founder of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. I have worked with the Austin Banner Program, the Lake and Central Redevelopment Project, the Beth-Anne Life Centre, and the Westside Performing Art Center. I am a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Delta Sigma Pi, a Professional Business Organization.

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

No. I was sworn into the General Assembly in April, 2010.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

N/A

Nardello
Birthdate: 8/18/1966
Occupation: Director of Finance & Administration, City of Chicago
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Angela

Education:

EDUCATION:
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Executive Education: John F. Kennedy School of Government
Emphasis in Leadership for the 21st Century
Received a Fellowship May 2007.
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois.
Master of Science: Management of Public Services
Emphasis in policy analysis, program evaluation, and research methodology. Nominated by faculty to participate in the Presidential Management Internship Program.
June 1992.
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois.
Bachelors of Science: Marketing
Emphasis in service marketing and management. Elected President of Phi Alpha Delta Pre Law.
June 1990.

Professional Education:

Fiscal Indicators Committee: developed a summary list of indicators measuring the strengths and weaknesses of the Comprehensive Financial Annual Reports. The committee developed a standardized template, published by the Civic Federation and is currently being used by numerous cities and counties across the United States.

Capital Improvement Advisory Committee: responsible for maintaining transparency in identifying the financial needs of the current infrastructure and capital asset programs; successfully produced an annual mid-year and year-end Capital Improvement Report that was approved by council members.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Galewood Montclare Community Organization (GMCO)
November 1999-2007
Vice-President. Responsible for the community outreach, editor and reporter for both the “Northwest Business Report” and “Education Report” quarterly newsletters covering community issues surrounding economic development and education. Responsible for meeting with the community regarding their concerns involving public safety and zoning. Responsible for managing fund-raising events, setting the parameters of an economic study and the creation of a Northwest Business Committee, a subsidiary of the GMCO. Worked with the community on the development of the new Brickyard Mall. Responsible for reinvesting a $50,000 grant back into the community.

I.A.P.C.
Italian American Political Coalition
September
Board Member 2002-2006.
Elected Secretary 2005-2007
Board Member/Chairman of the Public Relations Committee. Active participant in candidate slating for the November 2002 election. Sub-committee member responsible for organizing a fundraising event honoring Italian American elected officials hosted at the Illinois Governors Mansion.

I.C.A.N. Project
Interactive Creative Alternative Nurtured Learning Project
August 1992-December 1996
Board Member. A non for profit organization created to enhance education at the elementary level. Developed an Internet-based curriculum to assists teacher lesson plans, state standards and textbooks

Chamber of Commerce-Oak Park/River Forest
Chamber of Commerce-Elmwood Park/Montclare

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

Local School Council
May 1994-2007
Elected Sayre Language Academy Community Representative.
Responsible for: budgetary requests of all internal accounts, managing the schools improvement plan, addressing community concerns, and fund-raising events. Received LSC, community, and CPS support in transforming the first Chicago Magnet School into a Community First School; the event was reported on the front page Chicago Sun-Times, Magnet Schools Makeover Begins, January 21, 2002.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

Department on Aging/Family and Support Services City of Chicago
May 1997-Present

Director of Finance and Administration. Responsible for managing a staff of twenty employees and supervising an accounting unit, a payroll unit, a personnel unit, a contracts unit, and an administration unit. Duties include managing an annual operating budget of $35 million in grants from federal, state, city and local funds. Monitor all program budgets, meeting multiple budget timetables, complying with federal, state and local audit requirements. Plan for budget revisions and amendments, ensure resources are available and disbursed in a timely manner. Developing funding priorities with the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners and suggest a resolution for problem areas. Daily operations oversee general office management, ensure compliance with all regulations regarding purchases, ensure timely purchases and service requests, coordinate facility and equipment improvement. In addition:

Revised the Finance and Administrative Policy and Procedure Handbook that contains over 600 pages outlining Administrative Services; Contracts; Fiscal; Payroll; and Personnel issues.
Implement a program of cross-training among the finance and payroll units. This was beneficial during retirements, illnesses, hiring plans.
Manage and monitor the project and program income generated from a variety of senior programs that are mandated to request contributions from the client. For example, each year the department is expected to collect $1,600,000 in nutrition project income in an effort to support funding for the program.
Created a new inventory system using bar-codes and scanners establishing accountability and accuracy for all equipment and furniture purchased by the department. There is annual inventory conducted and report that outlines every item, funding source, location, and life expectancy.
Revisions to internal purchasing MSR (Material Service Request form) and personnel PAF (Personnel Action/Edit Form) to ensure efficiency and establish accountability.
Revised the office supply policies and procedures enabling a more efficient system to exist establishing accountability and faster service at Central Office and all Regional Centers.
Established internal round-table contract sign-off; reducing several months to execute a delegate agency contract.
Establish and lead the committee on a department re-organization during a time when the department is experiencing a shortage of labor caused by layoffs, retirement and resignations.
Establish part-time payroll reports; monitoring time sheets and check disbursements.
Produce financial reports-monthly financial statements, routine salvage exercises, and weekly vacancy reports and analysis.
Department contact during the City's single audit.
Establishing monthly allotments to control costs in office supplies and vendor contracts that have shown a history of deficit invoicing.
Manage and monitor the City's monthly Performance Matrix.
Office of Budget and Management, City of Chicago
June 1993- May 1997

Senior Budget Analyst. Responsible for supervising and performing detailed and complex analysis of the operations of departments and agencies pursuant to formulation and execution of the budget for e City of Chicago. Duties include policy research, Best Practice assessments and analysis of budget requests for the following departments: Purchasing, Contracts, and Supplies; Department of Personnel; City Treasurer; Mayor's Office of Inquiry and Information; Animal Care and Control; Board of Elections; Cable Communication; License Commission; License Appeals; Graphics and Reproduction Center; and Board of Ethics. The following is a list of accomplishments:

Initiated the responsibility of the Department of Anin1al Care and Control's commission to solicit private funding for public service announcements, medical supplies, and educational programs once funded by the corporate budget.
Established an intergovernmental purchasing agreement between the City of Chicago and the Chicago Transit Authority: A cost savings of $100,000.00 annually in the purchases of office supplies.
Managed a computer generated tracking system to record and identify funding sources, project descriptions, costs, and dates of capital in1provement projects. In addition, this information was used to assist in the publication of the Mid-Year and Year-End Capital Improvement Program books.
Drafted RFP's and RFQ's for automatic teller machines to be at various owned facilities.
Reviewed Illinois State Agreements funding new capital and infrastructure projects in cooperation with j Chicago's departments of: Transportation, Sewers, Water, Streets and Sanitation, General Services, and the Mayor's Office.
Manage Office of Budget and Management's student internship programs. Solicit resumes and writing samples from 40 universities and colleges across the country, conduct interviews, hire, and manage summer, fall, and winter internships.
Other duties include managing and reviewing: hiring plans, revenue projections, personnel audits, program audits, grants, technology audits, travel requests, voucher rein1bursements, memo vouchers, transfer of appropriations, technical amendments, allotment changes, and budget workshops

Campaign information
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    ALL
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

Campaign headquarters:
Website:
Campaign manager: Katy Langenfeld
Campaign budget: I plan to coordinate an aggressive fundraising program throughout the next couple months. I do not have a specific number to share at this time.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
In addition to the outpouring of support from my friends, family, and local supporters, the following list shows my top monetary campaign contributions.

Illinois Hospital Association $6,500
Exelon $4,000
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association $3,000
Racing Association of Illinois $2,511.80
SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana $2,250

Nardello

Campaign headquarters: 827 Columbian Ave. Oak Park, Il 60302
Website: www.michaelnardello.com
Campaign manager: KL Robertson Daly
Campaign budget: $100,000
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Mark LaRose $5000.00
Nick Nardello $2,050.00
Linda Nardello $3000.00
Nicholas Sposato $500.00
Bert Bell $500.00

What are your top priorities for your district?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

As I've spoken with residents of the 78th district, I have learned that the top priorities are public safety, job creation, education and health care. I grew up here, and have a background in business, job creation, education and community health care; I understand these issues as they relate to the area.

Nardello

Given the diversity of the district and economic disparity there are different concerns within the district's communities. However, the common needs that I would make a priority are stable employment, affordable housing which includes addressing rising property taxes, economic development infrastructure improvements and quality education.

But most importantly I will make equal access and a commitment to an open-door policy with regularly scheduled town hall meetings throughout district a priority.

What is your top priority for the state?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I believe that we can resolve a lot of our other issues by first addressing our economic issues. As the founder and former director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, I have experience in working with businesses, community groups, and job seekers. I understand that to make a bigger impact, you must form coalitions and work together as it relates to job creation.

Nardello

Illinois clearly has a substantially growing debt as well as unfunded liabilities in the amount of more than $114 billion. Which continues to compound based on higher interest rate payments, leaving less money for important priorities such as capital infrastructure improvements, education and pension funding.
I am proposing a state of financial “Responsibility and Accountability.”

According to the Illinois Policy Institute which has identified nearly $50 million in wasteful state programs that should be vetoed from the 2012 budget. Findings include:

• $4,037,500 for Upward Mobility Program, which pays 100 percent of tuition costs for AFSCME union members.
• $1,057,500 for the DuQuoin State Fair and Illinois State Fair entertainment and award costs. Between 2001 and 2009, these two fairs have lost more than a combined $41.8 million.
• $4,214,400 for the grants to Art Organizations and Individuals through the Illinois Arts Council.
• $365,400 for the Urban Fishing Program, a low priority initiative when funds are being diverted from welfare-to-work programs and other services for the poor and disadvantaged.
• $2,615,600 for the Sparta World Shooting and Recreation Complex, which should be able to stand on its own without taxpayer subsidies.
• $23,836,900 for Tourism Promotion by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, including a $29,550 statue of Lois Lane.
• $1,267,685 for specific state internship programs, which pay interns between $29,000 and $31,500 annually with full state benefits.
• $243,800 for the Foster Grandparent Program.
• $1,640,000 for the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program.
• $9,000,000 for the Renewable Energy Resources Program and the Illinois Renewable Fuels Development Program, which includes $450,000 for the University of Illinois to “implement the Biogas and Biomass to Energy program"
• $13,358 to the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house at Northern Illinois University for a solar thermal energy system in order to “increase the utilization of alternative energy technology in Illinois.”

As a result of the above findings, I would advocate for all district's to hold preliminary public budget hearings prior to budget approval. I would further support requiring the state to develop and implement a solid capital improvement plan. Our state needs to create and approve an annual 5-year Capital Improvement Plan, CIP (which includes: type of project, timelines, status of construction, mid-year expenditure report and funding source) before funds are appropriated. Again, holding capital improvement public hearings in each district should be requirement as a level of accountability to the citizens of Illinois. I am 100% committed to setting an example of accountability by holding both preliminary operating budget and CIP hearings throughout the 78th District along with establishing a Capital Improvement Advisory Council which would include resident's and business's input into the process and design of the plan.

These are the types of transparency and accountability I am promoting as a candidate for the Illinois State Representative in the 78th district.

Pension reform is yet another topic that I feel strongly about, especially given that much of our state's pension liability is underfunded and in a financial crisis. This creates a heavy burden on the entire state financial situation, given the impact it has on the state's ability to balance its budget. If we continue to fall behind in state rankings nationally and in economic growth we will become less desirable as a state in which people want to live and raise their families. We will not only face a situation of being bankrupt as a state society, but also, a situation where families, business and employers are fleeing Illinois into neighboring states who are more economically sound.

I firmly believe that by giving taxpayers the tools to understand where and how their money is being spent, it will only serve to make the state government more accountable whereby reducing waste, fraud, and abuse.

For incumbents, please list your accomplishments. For challengers, what unique strengths would you bring to the job of state lawmaker?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I have had the opportunity to review the budget, line-by-line, reducing spending and eliminating duplication. I helped to create job training programs for employees and incentives for businesses, so that we can improve our economic outlook in Illinois. Because of my experience in health care, I have created legislation to address HIV and heart disease. I have worked to improve public safety, ensuring that more attention is given to juvenile offenders so that they can reintegrate and do not become repeat, adult offenders. I have also supported education reform.

Nardello

Working in the Office of Budget and Management I was responsible for developing, managing and monitoring the Annual and Mid year Capital Improvement Plan while maintaining a positive working relationship the community, city council and Capital Improvement Advisory Committee board for approval of the plan. The challenge I face as director of finance for social service is to provide much needed services, yet adhere to a tight budget. This requires a skill set that includes strategic financial planning, in-depth analysis of cost accounting procedures and a genuine ability to think outside the box for a solution that provides for a continuation of much needed services yet stay well within budget perimeters.

I bring a fresh and business approach to decision making and funding. I know how to access a program and evaluate its measurable output. Based on merit, I can propose viable solutions from different perspectives rather than a business as usual case scenario which we have become all to accustom to in Illinois.

The state public employee pension system is severely underfunded and paying down the debt threatens to crowd out spending on core state services. Do you support reducing pension benefits not yet earned through a bill like SB512, which offers state workers three options for earning future pension benefits. Should police officers and firefighters be included in a reduced pension system?
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    Nardello
Lilly

The state is facing some very real fiscal problems. There is no doubt that we cannot sustain the current state public pension system if the economy remains stagnant or worsens. However, I believe that current and past employees who have paid into the system should receive their retirement benefits. That is fair.

Attempting to go backwards and reduce benefits for current and past employees would not only be unfair, but it would be unconstitutional. I would not support efforts to change the constitution to allow for this.

As you know, recent investigative news reports have shown several instances where public pensions have been abused. For example, the case of two lobbyists receiving teachers pensions after substitute teaching for only one day. That is fraud, and I think that the standards for who qualifies for public pensions needs to be reviewed and heavily monitored to prevent future corruption. That kind of unethical behavior negatively impacts all taxpayers, not only the employees that work hard, pay fairly into the system, and count on receiving the retirement plan that they signed up for.

I also support measures to prevent “double-dipping,” which is when an individual receives multiple public pensions.

Nardello

Currently Illinois is faced with $80 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. This will only continue to grow if not corrected. In one respect, I would support such an initiative because it does offer some options for individuals to have a retirement plan such as a 401K . However, I have reservations because it does not completely resolve the issue of underfunding that exists. I would move to support higher levels of accountability that would require the publication of a cost benefit analysis for early retirement proposals and consolidation of all local pension funds. In addition, I would propose the creation of a watchdog agency such as a Pension Protection Authority that would safeguard and adhere to full funding requirements to the pension fund.

I would support amending the state pension code to publically report basic measures of fiscal health that would include reporting funding ratios, unfunded liabilities, and date of insolvency. Along with offering benchmarks, goals, and proposed strategies to maintain a well-funded pension.

If you don't support a bill like SB512, how would you deal with the state's unfunded pension liability?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I was a co-sponsor on the education reform law, Senate Bill 7, now Public Act 97-0008. I understand from that experience that all stakeholders should be involved in reform discussions, as each party can bring a new perspective, idea, or approach to the issue. Going forward with the state pension issue, I would highly suggest that discussions are handled in the same manner, inclusively, with an open mind and willingness to negotiate. I really can't imagine lasting, effective reform moving forward without support from both parties, unions, and other stakeholders.

Like I mentioned in the previous section, I believe that our pension system needs greater regulation. That includes not only higher standards for awarding pensions, but also more accountability to make sure that contribution promises are kept. We got into this problem because past Governors and elected officials essentially ignored payments, and diverted revenue elsewhere. We cannot continue to do that. We must keep up with payments, and cut out fraud. I support the public pension payment plan that has been put in place which aims to bring pensions to 90% funding by 2045.

Again, regulating who receives pensions will help reduce the problem. I have supported eliminating “double-dipping” into pensions, which is when an individual receives multiple public pensions. I do not think that a person should be able to received a public pension while also still receiving a public, tax-payer funded salary. That is another form of double-dipping in my mind. I have also opposed awarding public pensions to convicted criminals. Public service is not a “get rich quick scheme”, and it should no longer be treated as such.

And lastly, as the economy improves, our revenue streams will improve as well. Job creation can only help our fiscal matters.

Nardello

See above

Do you want the 2 percent point income tax increase to expire in 2014, as planned, or would you like to see the tax increase extended beyond 2014?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

The income tax increase was presented as a temporary increase. I don't think the legislature should break it's promise.

Hopefully the economy and job market will improve, and revenue that the government receives through income, sales, property, and other taxes will be enough to fully fund pensions and all other programs outlined in the budget.

I am open to supporting an extension, but only after fully reviewing our economic standing at that time, in 2014, going line-by-line in the budget to eliminate waste and duplication, and certainly not without meeting with my constituents, community organizations, businesses and other groups in my district to hear their feedback. My mission is to be a strong voice for them, so I would not act without first holding meetings throughout the district.

Nardello

I would consider extending it, however, the current increase as well as extending the increase beyond 2014 does not necessary reduce spending nor does it resolve Illinois' underlying budget problem, (the chronic mismatch between revenues and expenditures.) However, I would support legislation such as Public Act 96-1496, which establishes spending limitations for FY2012 through FY2015. If overspending is not corrected by the General Assembly and/or by the Governor, then tax rates for that year would essentially roll back to the original rates.

Do you support any changes to the corporate income tax rate? Do you support any other changes to the state's business tax structure?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I think we need to review how tax breaks are awarded. It may benefit the state to give some businesses tax breaks, but I think we should reevaluate the standards we use to make this decision. Our system needs reform to ensure that we also assist small businesses, the job creation backbone of the country, not just corporations that can afford to hire lobbyists. We need a fair and reliable tax structure.

Nardello

Yes, I do support changes however, even with an increase in the corporate tax rate and business tax structure it still will not reduce spending to offset the unbalance of revenues and expenditures. If we were to keep in line with our neighboring state's, tax rates it would help to reduce a corporation's likely hood of relocating for a significant tax savings along with retaining jobs and potentially attracting new business into Illinois.

What should the state government do to create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I come from a business background, and have acquired invaluable experience from working at the Chamber. I have supported measures that would improve employee training, so that businesses have the opportunity to hire the best and brightest right here in our state. I have created local educational programs for the same purpose, of connecting our younger generations with internships, job experiences and access to a quality education, so that we may offer job providers a pool of talented, eager workers.

Additionally, I support measures to help small businesses, minority and women owned businesses, and businesses located in at-risk neighborhoods.

I supported Senate Bill 397, which provides tax breaks and incentives for businesses. I lent my support to this measure after listening to business organizations, including the Chamber, the Illinois Manufacturers' and Illinois Retail Merchants, who were all in support.

House District 78 contains highways, Metra rail, CTA rail and busses, and suburban bus lines. The O'Hare airport is not too far away. Transportation is a huge issue here, and I believe that funds that are invested in infrastructure enhance our business climate. Keeping the sidewalks in downtown Oak Park nicely paved and providing reliable service on the Division bus, for example, both serve to benefit our region-- people will be able to access the area to patronize local businesses, to work, or transport goods.

Nardello

First and foremost reduce the bureaucracy regarding zoning and the permitting process.

Offer realistic tax incentives to business relocating to Illinois that will create a substantial number of new jobs. I agree with the Tax Foundation's article on state business tax climate index in that-Taxes matter to businesses. Business taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness, the transparency of the tax system and the long-term health of the state's economy. Most importantly, taxes diminish profits. If taxes take a larger portion of profits, that cost is passed along to either consumers, (through higher prices), workers, (through lower wages or fewer jobs), or share holders, (through lower dividends or share value). Thus a state with lower tax cost will be more attractive to business investment, and more likely to experience economic growth.

Lay out your plan for paying the billions the state owes schools, universities, human service providers and others. Would you support borrowing to pay down those bills?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I would support a borrowing plan strictly to pay off our past bills, depending on the circumstances of that plan. I do not support borrowing to pay for new programs. As our economy improves, and jobs are created, that will create additional revenue for the state which can be used to pay off the bills as well. I support additional efforts to review the budget line-by-line each year to eliminate waste and duplication.

Nardello

Illinois continues to be one of the worst states in the country when it comes to paying bills late. It's a vicious cycle which forces vendors to borrow money, lay off staff, cut salaries and more. I am not in favor of borrowing as a solution to paying current and past debt. Controlling spending and creating accountability for how the taxpayers money is spent is the ultimate answer. Trying to rob from Peter to pay Paul is not a long-term solution. What Illinois needs to start the recovery process, (given the economic crisis we are in because of years of miss-management and over spending), is a payment policy that mandates the timeliness of payments and collections. A tool that would illustrate monthly performance based measurements and annual benchmarks.

State legislative leaders are trying to give the General Assembly a role in negotiating contracts with state labor unions. What is your opinion of that?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I support unions and I support the right to collectively bargain.

Nardello

Rather than having just the Governor negotiate directly with the labor unions, I could see some benefit to having the General Assembly participate in reviewing the contracts for fairness, compliance with state spending and in the overall negotiation process. With the ultimate goal of creating a checks and balances systems to solidify accountability.

The legislature has tried repeatedly to expand gambling in Illinois. Do you support expanded gambling in Illinois? In what form? Do you support a Chicago casino?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

Yes, but not without first making sure that the appropriate social service issues have been addressed. A Chicago casino can offer us the opportunity to bring in out of state dollars through the facility and generate additional tourism dollars elsewhere in the city and surrounding areas. I would need to see details on where this new revenue would be applied. I don't think we can move forward without having a clear path for how to allocate this new revenue, or without a strong implementation and regulation plan.

Nardello

Yes, I would support socially responsible gaming as a voluntarily contribution(s) to the state's revenue pool. I would also support an expansion in Illinois gaming to include the City of Chicago to promote tourism as well as the city's ability to attract out-of-state convention business that would support the existing city convention sites, hotels, restaurants and the huge hospitality industry that supports a large workforce within the city. The gaming industry with a high level of accountability, can potentially positively impact jobs, sales tax revenue and out-of-state funding for important initiatives such as education.

Would you seek any changes to the state ethics and campaign finance laws? Would you support capping what state party leaders can donate during a general election?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

There have been many recent reforms in the past few years, and I would certainly be opening to supporting further reforms. Public service is not about getting rich, it is about serving the interests of the community.

Illinois does have new laws to limit spending by parties and party leaders during primary campaigns. I would be open to discussing how it could be expanded to general elections as well.

Nardello

Yes! Spending for elections has reached disproportionate amounts on both the state and national level. Yes, I would support capping what state party leaders (and special interest groups/non-profits) can donate in order to maintain an equal level playing field, thus providing a true democratic process in elections.

Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

Yes.

Nardello

I would consider a gradual transition into a progressive tax system, at a level where the individuals affected would truly be in the category of upper-class, wealthy. Those who could sustain a contribution to government tax at higher rate that would not necessarily impact their ability to remain in their current homes, provide a college education for their children and/or substantially impact their current lifestyle. I do however, believe strongly that those who have succeeded in creating the American dream of the upper middle class, i.e. those who are well above the poverty level, yet not independently wealthy by any means, for example those who still need to work to sustain a living and maintain health insurance benefits, should not unjustly be penalized as a new class majority.

Do you have a plan to adequately fund schools and reform the property tax system that results in inequities?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

The 78th House District is a combination of Chicago public schools, suburban schools, and private schools. I see a wide range of educational options. Too often, the high-crime, low-income areas have poor quality schools which result in our children never receiving a fair shot to improve their surroundings. I think that relying more on state funding, rather than local funding, is an alternative that would benefit students. I am open to having discussions about a gradual shift of tax responsibility so that schools are more equally funded.

Regarding schools, I have been a long-time advocate for increased parent involvement. I am a supporter of parenting classes and offering parents an opportunity to be more involved and included in their child's education. I think parents should be involved in discussions related to all types of school reform, even school tax reform.

Nardello

I believe strongly in requiring school financial accountability, first and foremost. In which case, I would support having a thorough analysis done of both class size ratios and teacher salaries. I would not necessary advocate reducing teacher salaries or benefits in the short-term nor would I be a proponent of an increase in student/teacher ratios to cut costs. Having been elected to serve on the Sayre Language Academy School Council, I am very familiar with the balancing act, a local community school adheres to, in order to successfully accomplish the multitude of goals that an education entirety in a non-affluent area demands. Schools who predominately depend on property taxes and state funding limit their opportunities to invite other funding resources from the private sector who could substantially impact the schools funding, as an investment into a well educated labor force in the immediate area ultimately benefiting both entities.

Charitable foundations who have not yet met their contribution limits are yet another source of underutilized income. In the State of Illinois, much has been promised from gaming revenues, yet there is a large discrepancy in the accountability of contributions earmarked for education. As an individual who has an in-depth knowledge of finance administration my first priority as a State Representative would be to call for a thorough and independent audit of the state's education budget. This would also include a review of TIF funds allocated to education and local schools.

What is your view on gay marriage?
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    Lilly
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    Nardello
Lilly

I was a co-sponsor on the state's Civil Union law, which became effective this past June.

Nardello

My view is that by denying same-sex couples legal access to marriage and all of its intended benefits represent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Based solely on marital status, not on civil union status, couples have the benefit of leaving to care for an ill spouse, social security survivor benefits and spousal benefits, and the right not to testify against one's spouse.

The race
The candidates
Camille Y. Lilly
Michael D. Nardello
The district
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