suntimes
CHOPPY 
Weather Updates

Illinois House District 81, Republican Primary

.

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
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack
Birthdate: 2/15/1964
Occupation: Attorney/ Gaido & Fintzen, LLC
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Kevan Sandack

Education:

BA- University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
JD- DePaul University College of Law

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

DuPage Bar Association; Member of the Illinois Bar; Loyal Order of Moose; Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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

2003-2007 Downers Grove Village Council Member
2007-2011 Mayor, Village of Downers Grove
2010-present State Senate, 21st Dist.

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

[I assume the word above contains a typo and is really "contact"]

I have two brothers who are long-time employees of the State Police.

Campaign information
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

Campaign headquarters: 1202N 75th Street, No. 113, Downers Grove, IL 60516
Website: www.ron4illinois.com
Campaign manager: Bob Barnett
Campaign budget: Undetermined at this time.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
All campaign contributions have been duly disclosed on the State Board of Election's website. Here's the link:

http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateSearch.aspx?txtLastName=sandack&txtFirstName=ronald l

What are your top priorities for your district?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

1) Increasing active participation with constituents as to activities happening in Springfield. Engaging people with what is happening will encourage more to offer ideas and know-how and purposefully participate in the democratic process. 2) Making sure transportation and infrastructure monies are fairly allocated and come back to the district. 3) Demonstrating fiscal discipline and budgeting integrity to restore Illinois as the leader in the Midwest for job creation and economic prosperity.

What is your top priority for the state?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

1) Public pension reform for the five State pension funds. Without it, there can be no true financial sustainability for our State's budgets. 2) Reducing the size, scope, expanse and expense of State government. The State must focus on its true mission and adequately fund those core services. 3) Creating a business friendly State to get people back to work. The exodus from Illinois must stop and people must feel that there is opportunity for prosperity for them and their families. 4) Term limits. The unchanging and entirely unacceptable environment in Springfield continues unabated... and it has been an abject failure. The time for reasonable term limits has come. 5) Increase State transparency/visibility by putting all State expenditures online in real time.

For incumbents, please list your accomplishments. For challengers, what unique strengths would you bring to the job of state lawmaker?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

1) I am a different kind of legislator. I believe in public service; serving in the General Assembly is not my career... and under any circumstances it won't be. And in that regard, I am vehemently opposed to continuing with legislative pensions. I am 1 of 4 legislators who declined all benefits (pensions and health care) associated with my public service in the General Assembly. To my mind, public service oriented positions, which are part-time, should not be receiving benefits associated with full-time endeavors. Thus, I am the sole sponsor of SB 2498 which seeks to end legislative pensions. 2) I was co-chief sponsor in the Senate of HB 3813 which was just signed by Governor Quinn. That bill repeals some blatant acts of fraud and abuse by insiders seeking to obtain lifetime pensions for serving in union leadership on extended leaves of absence from public sector work and acting as substitute teachers for one single day. 3) I was co-chief sponsor on SB 541 which gave collar County Boards the right to demand and obtain financial information of outside boards they make appointments to, like the DuPage Water Commission and DuPage Housing Authority. 3) I never participated in the legislative scholarship program-- thought from the inception of my service that it was an unfair mandate upon the State Universities and was easily misused. Am a co-sponsor of the bill to get rid of this unnecessary and expensive program. 5) I have used social media, unlike almost any of my colleagues in the General Assembly, to engage my constituents and obtain their feedback and ideas as to important State issues. 6) When I was Mayor of Downers Grove I reduced staff head-count and cut over $4 million in the operating budget without sacrificing vital Village services.

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?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

Yes, I favor SB 512 because the five State public pensions are in dire need of reform, and 512 does so fairly. It does not touch retiree benefits and allows current employees within the plan to make a choice of three options-- stay the course with a higher employee contribution; drop to the second tier with the same contribution but paying out benefits later and without the same inflation escalator; or moving into a self-directed 401k-like plan. This will save the State billions and still provide State employees a very strong retirement benefit. As mentioned earlier, with my forgoing pension and health care benefits, I have been able to lead on this issue and others, for instance HB 3813, where I was chief co-sponsor in the Senate.

If you don't support a bill like SB512, how would you deal with the state's unfunded pension liability?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

NA-- I favor SB 512.

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?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

Yes, I want the tax increase to expire. In fact, I am a co-sponsor of the bill seeking to roll it back now; before its stated expiry. This tax increase, to my mind, has done far more harm than good-- despite the increased revenues. That is because the State has utterly failed to address the real issue... State spending needs to be reduced.

Do you support any changes to the corporate income tax rate? Do you support any other changes to the state's business tax structure?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

I support the roll back of the recent tax increase for all residents and companies and also favor then instituting a further reduction in the State corporate tax rate. With a reduced corporate tax rate, Illinois can return to being a business friendly State where existing businesses will want to expand their operations and new businesses will seek to situate themselves. Both instances promote job creation and I believe growing our State-wide economy is critical-- and doing so fairly. I favor lessening corporate rates yet eliminating business subsidies; corporate welfare is nothing more than the State picking winners and losers... and taxpayers always seem to lose in that game. In that regard, I voted against the tax breaks afforded to Sears and CME.

What should the state government do to create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

Most people agree that getting people back to work and creating an inviting business environment are priorities. Given that Illinois' unemployment rate tops the national average, job creation is critical. Unfortunately, Illinois has become a toxic environment for business. Our State has high taxes, excessive regulation, and cumbersome legal requirements that chase businesses out. After the recent 47% income tax increase on businesses, that toxic environment got all the worse… and businesses began to leave our State. Legislators in Springfield need to work across the aisle to bring jobs back to Illinois. We need to cut taxes on businesses, reduce artificial impediments and unnecessary regulations, and view the private sector as a partner, not a revenue source. If we grow good paying jobs at home we will increase tax revenue, put our friends and neighbors back to work and create safe and strong communities for our families.

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?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

1) Reduce the size and scope of State government and cut unnecessary State spending. 2) Pass meaningful pension reform. 3) Seek to become a low-tax State that is business-friendly. These steps will grow our State treasury by expanding the tax base to create new (and expanded) tax payers-- permitting additional opportunities to pay-down, and then ultimately all of, the back-log of bills.

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?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

I favor more visibility so that General Assembly gain first-hand knowledge of these vital negotiations; after all over 95% of the State employees are subject to collective bargaining contracts. I would not hand-over all responsibilities to appointed legislators, however being a apart of the negotiation team with staff management personnel can provide a myriad of benefits.

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?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

I have voted "No" on multiple occasions because the level of gambling sought to be expanded was just too much. I could favor a Chicago casino --so long as it was subject to the same regulations and oversight as all other licensed gaming facilities. Permitting licensed horse racing facilities to have slot machines on-site is also a concept I could support under the right circumstances.

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?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

Illinois needs far more meaningful ethics reforms. I championed an unprecedented local ethics and campaign ordinance as Mayor of Downers Grove. With respect to the State, however, I believe ethics reform starts with reasonable term limits for those serving in the General Assembly. Illinois has abundant evidence of what State government looks like with career politicians focused mostly on getting re-elected: That's called the status quo. Thus, it is high time that reasonable term limits be instituted so that we can be governed by citizen-servants rather than professional careerists. We also need to be far tougher on corruption and tougher on eliminating “pay to play politics” in Illinois. This can be accomplished by applying the same disclosure requirements of candidates for elected office upon those seeking to be awarded State business/contracts. Making vendors, contractors and others wishing to obtain State business undertake the same financial discloses as State candidate/elected officials would make State processes far more transparent

Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

No. Illinois has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Time would be far better spent undertaking a forensic audit of State government because, this being Illinois, we can easily assume there is far more waste, fraud and inefficiencies yet to be detected and cleansed. Simultaneous with the audit, Illinois would do well to resort to some free market principles to try and make the State business friendly to improve business activity, create jobs and otherwise grow the tax base (create more tax payers). Taking more taxes from a dwindling tax base is not a recipe for long term prosperity or success.

Do you have a plan to adequately fund schools and reform the property tax system that results in inequities?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

I believe there is plenty of money being spent to “adequately fund” Illinois schools. Instead, I contend that the real problem lies in the mis-allocation of already ample resources. This happens frequently with units of government.

While the case can be made that Illinois education spending is overly reliant on property taxes, the current system addresses some of the funding disparity issue. This has made the funding system far too complex.

I will support any legislation designed to address school funding equity, as long as it based upon the following principles.

1. Any shift in funding (from local sources to state) must result in substantial, permanent property tax relief.

2. State allocation of resources should shift from away funding “districts” and other bureaucratic entities, and move toward funding students.

3. Illinois' parents and students should have more options, in the form of charters, on-line courses, and a wider array of education providers.

As we allocate resources toward students, more money will flow to classrooms and content providers, and away from expensive, bureaucratic structures that drain the resources necessary to educate children.

What is your view on gay marriage?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Sandack
Sandack

I opposed the civil union because it was, as written, actually a gay marriage bill. While I deeply appreciate people's privacy and take a "live and let live" approach, I do not favor gay marriage being sanctioned by the State.

The race
The candidates
Deborah L "Debbie" Boyle
Ron Sandack
The district
Loading...
Loading...
Latest News Videos
© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.

Comments  Click here to view or make a comment