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State Senate, District 19

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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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    Hastings
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Michael E. Hastings
Political party: Democrat
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation: Sales & Marketing Associate / Johnson & Johnson
Marital status: single
Spouse: N/A

Education:

United States Military Academy at West Point, B.S., Leadership and Management
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.B.A.
The John Marshall Law School, JD – expected 2013

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Beta Gamma Sigma - Business Honors Fraternity
Phi Alpha Delta – professional legal fraternity
West Point Society of Chicago - former member of Board of Directors
VFW Post #2791 - Lifetime member
University of Illinois Alumni Association
West Point Association of Graduates

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

Vice-President, Consolidated High School District #230 School Board - Andrew, Sandburg, & Stagg High Schools (elected)
Chairman of the Orland Hills Veterans Committee (appointed)

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

Kyle R. Hastings, Sr. – Mayor of Village of Orland Hills
Kyle R. Hastings, Jr. - Trustee, Village of Orland Hills
Mary C. Hastings – Executive Administrative Assistant, Orland Township

Edgar Montalvo
Political party: Republican
Birthdate: 1/10/1961
Occupation: Consultant / Kirkuk Global LLC
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Cecilia

Education:

Bachelor of Science from the University of the State of New York (1997), MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago (2001), a graduate certificate from the University of Oklahoma (2004), a graduate certificate in Commercial Real Estate Development from Roosevelt University (studies suspended due to mobilization in 2008 -- 1 class remaining).

My military education and training includes: the Engineer Officers Advance & Basic Courses, Combating Terrorism on Military Installations, the Nuclear Target Analysis Course, the Combined Arms Services and Staff School, and the Command and General Staff College.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

PMP - Project Management Professional, credential #1354172, thru August 2013, Project Management Institute ID #1864389.

CTP - Certified Treasury Professional (formerly known as Certified Cash Manager), thru June 2014, Association for Finance Professionals and a recipient of the 2007 & 2008 AFP Honors Award, AFP member ID #186796.

VFW Post 2791 - Life member / American Legion Post #0336 - PUFL member /
Reserve Officers Association - Life membership

Boy Scouts of America adult volunteer - Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 385, Calumet Council

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

In 1989, I was elected and served a four-year term as a Commissioner for the Frankfort Square Park District. I served as the Chairman of both the Maintenance and Long Range Planning subcommittees, working with officials from the Frankfort Plan Commission and Frankfort Township as well as local homeowners' associations. In this capacity, I provided leadership and direction that resulted in the expansion of recreational programs and facilities available to local residents. Especially significant during this term were the planning, funding, and construction of a 10,000 square foot community center, park district office, and maintenance facility. Additionally, I worked with the park board and the Village of Frankfort regarding unfair water capital charges resulting in a settlement to equalize rates. Having accomplished all the objectives that I had established for myself, I chose not to seek re-election.

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

U.S. Army Reserves, Oct 1981 - Jan 2012, Retired Lt. Col.

U.S. Army Corps of Enigneers civilian employee (Schedule-A/Temp), Feb 2010 - Aug 2011, served as the Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team Engineer in Iraq.

Campaign information
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Hastings

Campaign headquarters: 8760 West 159th Street, Orland Park, IL 60462
Website: www.hastings2012.com
Campaign manager: Danielle LeMonnier
Campaign budget: $100,000
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Myself - $12,646.10
United Association - $2500
Illinois Trial Lawyers Assn. - $2500
Illinois Federation of Teachers - $2500
Illinois Pipe Trades - $2500

Montalvo

Campaign headquarters: 9500 Bormet Drive, Suite 202, Mokena, IL 60448
Website: www.montalvo2012.com
Campaign manager: Jeff Soufal
Campaign budget: $20,000.00
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Except for self-funding (or my company Kirkuk Global), my campaign has not received any contributions in excess of $1,000.

For incumbents: In either the fall veto session or in January, will you support a bill like SB1673? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?
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Hastings

Did not respond

Montalvo

n/a - not incumbent.

If you don't support a bill like SB1673, what is your plan for rescuing the state's pension systems?
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Hastings

Did not respond

Montalvo

I would support SB1673.

For challengers or candidates for an open seat: If there is no action on pension reform in the fall veto session or in early January, would you support a bill like SB1673 in the next legislative session? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?
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    Hastings
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Hastings

As a school board member, I know firsthand that local school districts outside of the city of Chicago already pay a portion of teacher’s retirement agreed upon through collective bargaining. I am against the initial proposal regarding the shift of pension costs from the state to local school districts.

The plan would have created a financial nightmare for local school district and to the taxpayer. It would have caused the increase in property taxes that would crush our already struggling communities. The answer to the question is NO; I do not support the current proposal of cost shift. If they are to pass a cost shift in the fall veto session or early January, I hope the legislature would have the foresight to create a long term plan for a phased in cost shift over expanded period of time to allow for municipalities and school districts to forecast and budget accordingly. The legislature should also educate and inform their community of what is to come in terms of a cost shift, and not just implement it at the “last minute.” Regarding SB1673, I will wait to see what is produced during the fall veto session and in January.

Montalvo

I support efforts to reduce future pension obligations such as those that would make retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual COLA.

I do not support efforts to shift current unfunded employer costs from the state to local taxing districts. Shifting this burden does nothing to "solve" the current situation, but rather merely transfers the problem. Yes, future obligations need to be tied to those responsible for making compensation decisions, but even then, this "transfer" of obligations needs to occur in a phased, pre-planned manner that allows local districts the opportunity to properly prepare for this additional expense.

If you don't support a bill like SB1673, what is your plan for rescuing the state's pension systems?
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    Hastings
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Hastings

Did not respond

Montalvo

I do not believe SB1673 goes far enough to rescue the pension system.

More than anything else, the state needs to re-evaluate and adjust how we administer and deliver a quality deferred compensation system to public employees in Illinois. The current system, even with these proposed changes, is not sustainable and we risk breaking our financial commitment to the many hard working public servants that have placed their trust on the promises made to them and who now plan to receive the benefits they've earned as a government employee.

Whatever options are adopted, all stakeholders need to be represented, and need to understand that we cannot continue on the current path. The sooner the changes are made, the less severe they will need to be.

For all candidates: Do you support the Medicaid reform package passed last spring, including $1.6 billion in cuts and rate reductions and an increase in the cigarette tax? What else, if anything, needs to done to ensure the health of the state's Medicaid system?
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    Hastings
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Hastings

Healthcare costs and pension reform are two issues that go hand in hand. Health care costs are expected to rise exponentially over the course of the next ten to fifteen years. The state has to do a better job of providing savings in order to ensure the health of the state’s Medicaid system. My plan would include reducing wasteful administrative expenses. The lack of system-wide IT leads to enormous administrative expenses, from wasted time to excessive personnel. We could take ten percent or more out of the health care budget simply by streamlining the administrative system. When you talk to facilities that take payments via these systems they will tell you that the reason why payments are delayed is due in part to an aged infrastructure & incompatible systems. My plan would also include exploring how to reducing marketing and underwriting costs. Insurance administration averages twelve percent of costs overall, but only half that in large firms. Moving individuals and small firms into larger exchanges would save tens of billions of dollars annually. Last, as a health care professional, we devote far too little attention to prevention, and when acute episodes occur, they are more expensive than need be. The best health care systems, from the Mayo Clinic to Group Health Cooperative, save up to 10 percent while delivering higher care quality.
Healthcare costs are expected to increase exponentially over the next ten years and this has to be just as much of a priority to get in line

Montalvo

Yes, I supported the Medicaid reform package passed last spring.

We need to continue to evaluate what health care spending can be reduced or eliminated.

Do you support letting the 2 percent point income tax increase expire in 2014 as planned, or would you like to see the tax increase extended beyond 2014?        
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Hastings

I would let the 2% income tax increase to expire in 2014. The State of Illinois cannot pass off their financial mismanagement onto the taxpayer of Illinois. As a business professional who has managed budgets in excess of $130 million dollars, I would force a discussion on how to properly balance a budget. Every time Springfield is given more money to manage, it expands. The days of expansion are over.

Montalvo

Illinois needs to phase out the current income tax increase recently enacted. Increasing taxes and fees on individuals and businesses have raised additional revenue for the state, but have also simultaneously driven out jobs and resulted in a contraction of our state's economy. This additional revenue is short-lived as the tax increases become an increasing anchor to job growth and economic expansion. Bottom line - our combined tax burden in Illinois (income / sales / excise / property / estate) is among the highest in the nation, and is having a real and sustained negative impact on our economy. Consequently, I would vote to repeal the tax increase, and if not successful, then at least allow the rate to phase down as scheduled.

Do you support any changes to the corporate income tax rate? Do you support any other changes to the state's business tax structure? What should the state government do to create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth?
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Hastings

First, businesses create jobs; the government should create policies that foster a healthy business environment to allow for job creation and job growth in the private sector.

The 19th District is at the center of the I-80 & I-57 corridor, there is no excuse to why we are not at the epicenter of job creation and job growth. I support numerous reform efforts that will create a favorable business environment that will retain major corporations and invite small business owners to come to the Southland. I support the construction of the third airport, pension reform, expanding tax credits/incentives, among many more. I will spearhead legislation that will hold corporations “feet to the fire” if they accept various incentives by penalizing them if they move jobs out of the state. Last, I will push to eliminate the unnecessary hurdles and red tape that directly affects potential small business owners from opening businesses.

The key to retaining businesses in Illinois is to maintain a level of taxation and regulatory oversight to fund governmental operations. We need to ensure that we take care of the core mission of state government while providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our society – children, the elderly, the disabled and the indigent. Other than that, businesses and individuals can flourish to their full potential if we let them operate to their highest ability in a free market.

Increasing taxes, fees and regulations on Illinois businesses and individuals will ultimately drive them out of Illinois. Our total tax burden (income / sales / excise / property / estate taxes) are among the highest in the U.S. and are not conducive to economic growth. For every business that leaves, that leaves more taxes for the rest of us to pay.

Montalvo

There are many things that the state government can do now to help create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth. I make the following suggestions in addition to allowing the current income tax surcharge to expire as current scheduled:

Extend the duration of enterprise zones. In the last five years, more than $17 billion has been invested in these zones, which according to some estimates have created or retained more than 100,000 jobs.

Roll back the extension of the prevailing wage in TIF districts. Organized labor continues to expand the prevailing wage and is trying to require it in Enterprise Zones. TIFs and EZs are economic development tools designed to help businesses grow and expand. What's better, 10 employees making $18 an hour or 15 employees making $12 an hour? Of course, if you're one of the lucky 10 making $18, you would say the former, but what if you're one of the five who would be otherwise unemployed? How about the employer -- would the labor provided by 10 be as productive as that performed by 15? Would they be more competitive in today's marketplace? Increasing the minimum wage kills jobs at the margins, where many today find themselves.

Advance Worker's Compensation Reform. Illinois has among the highest rates in the nation, in part because our system fails to adequately address standards that determine whether a workplace actually caused or aggravated a worker's condition, as well as objective standards to determine disability.

Do you support the gambling package Gov. Quinn vetoed at the end of August? If not, how could it be improved?
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Hastings

Yes. I support the limited expansion of gambling in Illinois and the building of a casino. Socially conservative and liberal states alike are far ahead of Illinois and realize the economic impact it could have on the state. Although casinos and gambling are not the answer to our financial troubles, it would prevent Illinois from losing millions of dollars in tax revenue it has already lost to states like Wisconsin and Indiana.

Montalvo

Normally, I do not favor the expansion of gambling, especially as a source of government revenue - but under the current economic conditions, I would be willing to consider it if it can be demonstrated to help create jobs.

Over the last few years, the state Legislature has begun to bring spending in line with revenues by cutting spending in education, health care, social services and other areas. Has the state Legislature done enough to reduce spending and run government more efficiently? What more could be done? Are there any areas where you would like to see greater state investment?
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Hastings

After serving in the military for eleven years and as a member of the local school board, I know that there is always more to be done to reduce wasteful spending. Our state government should scrutinize every dollar that is being spent to ensure that it is spent properly. We do this as one of the largest school districts in the state. The state Legislature can definitely do more to reduce spending and run the government more efficiently. As stated in a previous question above, we need to ensure that we reduce wasteful administrative expenses and invest to upgrade our aging infrastructure. Working with a Fortune 500 company that operates at the cutting edge of technology and with a local government entity, it is evident that we need to bring the State of Illinois into the 21st century.

Montalvo

No, the state legislature has not done enough to reduce spending and run government more efficiently.

For example, I can also list several specific areas in which I would seek to reduce state spending. For starters, I would recommend consolidation of the Comptroller and State Treasurer (yes, it requires a constitutional amendment) offices. We should also limit the growth of any department's budget to no greater than the rate of inflation.

School mandates should be reviewed with a possible goal of eliminating some to allow local districts additional flexibility to manage resources more effectively at the local level. Consolidate some school districts to eliminate duplication of administrative services and expenses. Determine if certain townships can be eliminated and/or consolidated as well -- not all counties even have township governments. Disband the Civil Service Commission. Eliminate stipends for local officials' salaries for Treasurers, Assessors, Sheriffs, Coroners and Auditors.

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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Hastings

The campaign finance laws that were passed in 2009 were very well thought out. The transparency to obtain who donated to a particular candidate has greatly improved over the past few years with the help of technology. There is improvement that can be made in regards to the oversight of legislative PACs. However, instead of creating more laws restricting campaign finance law, we should do a better job of enforcing the ones we already have.

Montalvo

The current campaign finance regulations are weak and need strengthening with real penalties for violations. Incidents of pay-to-play should be fully investigated. For example, I would be very interested in knowing exactly who paid for the attorneys that challenged my petitions. They knew that we had more than enough good signatures, but their primary objective wasn't to throw me off the ballot (that would have been an unexpected bonus if they had), rather it was to burn up my resources (both financial and time). The lead law firm was hired by the same school board my opponent sits on literally the week before the objection was filed -- coincidence indeed.

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

No. I believe that this issue needs to be brought to the citizens of Illinois by vote and should be provided the opportunity to choose whether or not it becomes a constitutional amendment.

Montalvo

The proposal has both pros and cons, but I would not support it unless it could be shown to be revenue neutral and demonstrate that the expected benefits outweigh the negatives.

Do you have a plan to reform Illinois' school finance system so that it no longer produces inequities in school funding across the state?        
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Hastings

The State of Illinois is not in any financial position to be funding any inequities in school funding. Through poor financial management, past legislatures have mortgaged the futures of our children for years to come. The interest on our debt is growing at an increasing pace and eventually there will be residual effects to this in the form of services suffering.

This problem is going to take some time to remedy. My temporary solution is for both the House and the Senate create a formula which would establish a baseline tax revenue for the funding education. This formula would be applied to residential, commercial, and industry alike.

For the long haul, this is not something that the House and Senate alone cannot establish a solution to. We need to collaborate and reach out to business leaders and our brilliant economic minds to establish a permanent solution to this daunting problem.

We also need to encourage members of the community to get involved in their local governments. Many citizens do not understand who the taxing bodies are that have a direct impact on their property tax. Through their involvement they too can run for elected office (school boards, college boards, fire protection districts, etc.) and have a significant impact on whether their community’s property taxes are increased.

We also need to educate members of the community on the property tax appeals process and the services offered through organ

Montalvo

Can we honestly say that all the money spent on education in Illinois is money well spent? My daughter attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, so I have a direct personal incentive to ensure that Illinois continues to adequately support education. But throwing more money into education doesn't automatically translate into better education any more than spending more money on defense results in increased national defense.

I know this first hand as I have witnessed enormous waste while managing projects in Iraq. The best example I know was the construction of a U.S. taxpayer funded $3-miilion dollar helicopter hanger in Kirkuk that I managed -- only to watch us begin dismantling it immediately upon finishing its construction.

That said - the state should provide a critical oversight role to ensure local school districts deliver on providing quality education. Another important consideration is the consolidation of some school districts. There are almost 900 school districts in Illinois, so there appears to be some room for cost savings through consolidation.

Charter schools are another potential education reform that should be expanded. The recent teacher's strike in Chicago illustrated the benefit of greater choices and provides another reason for the expansion of charter schools -- as those students continued to attend classes while approximately 350,000 public school students missed over a week of essential classroom instruction.

What is your view on gay marriage?     
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Hastings

I believe that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman. However, I believe in civil unions that are regulated at a state level. If an individual with a gay sexual orientation is able to serve in the military and possibly die for his country, we should not prevent them from a civil union with their life partner.

Montalvo

I agree with the concept of civil unions and affording gay and lesbian couples the rights and responsibilities of two people united under the law. Loving, committed relationships must be supported and recognized. A compassionate society should do no less. I do not agree, however, that these unions should be called a marriage. I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

The candidates
Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings

Edgar Montalvo

Edgar Montalvo

 

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The district
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