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State Senate, District 26

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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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    Duffy
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    Howland
Dan Duffy
Political party: Republican
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation: State Senator / small business owner
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Kris

Education:

B.A. Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois
1984-1988

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Many Chambers of Commerce

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

I am the current State Senator completing my first term in office.

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

None

Amanda Howland
Political party: Democrat
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation:
Marital status:
Spouse:

Education:

NULL

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

NULL

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

NULL

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

NULL

Campaign information
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

Campaign headquarters: PO Box 272, Barrington, IL 60011-0272
Website: ElectDanDuffy.com
Campaign manager: Tina Keats
Campaign budget: Every campaign, candidate and district is different.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
You have more staff members than I do. All this info can be viewed on state web site.

Howland

Campaign headquarters:
Website:
Campaign manager:
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
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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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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

Public sector employees should receive benefits similar to private sector employees. We could change benefits for current employees on future earnings by offering 401K type plans and require larger contributions by the employees. We should also change the age of retirement for current employees to match that of social security (age 67), eliminate double dipping (collecting two or more taxpayer funded pensions), and put a cap on the maximum pension that can be received ($110,000). We can also eliminate or reduce cost of living increases (COLA's) for current retirees and require those who are receiving medical benefits to pay larger co-pays. The math is easy. It is the political will to solve the problem that is lacking. The alternative is insolvency and then all spending including education, meeting the basic requirements of Illinois' neediest citizens, roads, etc. AND pension benefits are at risk. The local school districts and property owners did not negotiate the pension contract so it would not be fair to ask them to clean up the mess Springfield has created. Speaker Mike Madigan has been taking money from the teacher's retirement funds for the past 42 years and now, when there isn't any money left to take and the state is on the verge of bankruptcy, he wants to pass the bill on to local school districts and home owners to force them to pay for decades of mismanagement.

Howland

NULL

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

I am for reform (see proposal above) but not for a band aid solution which shifts the burden onto local communities who did not create this mess in the first place.

Howland

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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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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

Did not respond

Howland

NULL

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

Did not respond

Howland

NULL

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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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

There were some actual reforms in the Medicaid bills. Senate bill 770 targeted the states use of "presumptive eligibility" in re-determining eligibility for Medicaid applicants who were automatically assumed to be eligible without proper verification. Senate bill 2840 reduces Medicaid liabilities by more than $1.6 billion and is a major component of the Medicaid reform package that is anticipated to reduce overall liabilities by $2.7 billion in FY13. These reductions reflect reforms that Senate GOP lawmakers have advocated for many years. In 2011 I, along with others, introduced the Reality Check fiscal reform plan, which included many of the spending reductions contained in SB 2840. These reforms targeted eligibility verification, utilization controls, optional services, and rate adjustments, among other changes. Senate bill 3397 essentially cuts up the Governor's Medicaid "credit card" by changing the "Section 25" provision in state law. Section 25 has allowed our Governors to purchase Medicaid services in one fiscal year, but push off the payments until the following year. Starting this year, the state can no longer roll over more than $700 million in Medicaid bills. The following year and subsequent years thereafter, the state's credit limit will be held to $100 million. The Illinois Constitution requires a balanced budget each year. Section 25 is nothing more than an accounting gimmick to circumvent the constitution. The General Assembly now must do the hard work by staying vigilant and make sure Springfield leadership actually implements these reforms. I have not, and do not, support a cigarette tax.

Howland

NULL

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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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

I would go one step further. I am the co-sponsor of a bill to repeal it. Illinois just raised the income tax 67% and the budget is in worse shape than before the tax increase. Job creators are fleeing the state or choosing to start a business in another state. Those with political clout and connections have negotiated a special deal. The level of uncertainty is very high in Illinois. Higher taxes will only exacerbate the situation and accelerate the downward cycle. We live in a highly competitive world where job creators and taxpayers can easily move to a different state or country. We have seen cities all over the country declaring bankruptcy because of their inability to pay the generous public pensions promised by politicians who in many cases are no longer serving as elected officials. We will be facing the same problem in the near future in Illinois if we do not reform our pensions immediately. We must be competitive with the surrounding states and the rest of the world. We need more tax payers - not higher taxes. Higher taxes will not improve economic growth in Illinois. Without economic growth, we will continue on a downward spiral while other states are implementing the essential changes needed to compete in a world economy. Illinois can balance its budget without tax increases if the legislative leaders and the governor make the hard choices needed. The solution is to improve the efficiency of the government, reduce the pension liability and roll back the tax increase. The alternative is insolvency and then all spending including education, meeting the basic requirements of Illinois' neediest citizens, roads, etc. AND pension benefits are at risk.

Howland

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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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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

The best way to encourage job growth in Illinois is to become a state which is business friendly. Currently, we are not competitive because of our high taxes, litigious state government, and corruption. We have just demonstrated what happens when a state increases taxes rapidly. The select few companies which can afford expensive lobbyists and donate thousands to legislators get a special deal and a tax break. Meanwhile, small businesses which provide 80% of the jobs in this state end up paying to subsidize the big businesses. Small businesses also create 80% of new jobs as well because every large business was once a small business (Groupon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook). When job creators see that Illinois politicians are picking "winners and losers" by handing out corporate welfare to politically connected companies, they choose to go to a place where they can get a fair deal. The solution is not to give special tax breaks to the "marquee name" big guys. The solution is to give everyone a break -- large and small companies - by repealing the 67% tax increase. If we make the changes needed to encourage job growth, our revenues will increase as well. Job creators provide tax revenue in the form of property tax payments, sales taxes collected, and payroll taxes. When we drive employers out of our state or discourage the creation of new businesses, we create a cycle of downward tax revenue that cannot be reversed with higher tax rates or new taxes. More taxes drive the job creators to other states. The states that are currently growing rapidly, such as Texas, are balancing their budgets without raising tax rates. Illinois is a clear model of what NOT to do to promote job creation which is why our unemployment rate is 26% higher than the rest of the country (10.3% vs. 8.1%).

Howland

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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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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

I do not support expansion of gambling in the State of Illinois. Gambling is an unstable, unreliable revenue source. Casinos on every corner will not solve our budget problems and would have a negative impact on the quality of life for our families.

Howland

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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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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

The legislature has NOT cut spending or made the state more efficient which is why the budget deficit continues despite an increase in taxes. Because of the spending crisis, they have stopped paying bills, have borrowed money to fund the pensions (which is like paying a credit card bill with a new credit card). We need to make the state more efficient -- not just cut the budget. One of the largest costs to the state is Medicaid. We need to implement the recent changes the legislature has passed in Medicaid reforms. We have limited resources and Medicaid should be used to serve only our neediest citizens. Government efficiencies can also be achieved by eliminating duplicate programs and by examining whether current programs work. We must cut out all the wasteful spending. We need to cut current state operational costs by implementing electronic data interchange (EDI) immediately. We are in a crisis. Every expenditure needs to be on the table and scrutinized for effectiveness and efficiency.

Howland

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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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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

I favor full and timely disclosure of all campaign funds. The internet allows us to have access to contributions in real time with proper software (which Illinois does not have yet). Politicians in Springfield have set up a labyrinth of legal limits that favor incumbents and party leaders. It would be better to have campaign donations go directly to candidates (assuming we can have real transparency) than to go through the political parties, its leaders or third party shadow organizations. Concentrating power in the hands of a few people makes the political system less responsive to the people and very difficult to change those in the top leadership positions. I completely support term limits for legislative leaders and legislators themselves. I fully support removing Michael Madigan as Speaker of the House. His forty two years in office are long enough. Through Madigan's leadership, he has absolutely decimated our states reputation and economy.

Howland

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Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?         
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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

No. The flat tax in Illinois is one of the positive attractions for job creators to start or expand businesses in Illinois. We do not want to punish successful job creators by taking larger and larger portions of their profits making it more difficult for them to have capital available to invest in growth. A job creator needs more than just a good idea. He or she has to invest large amounts of money in buildings, equipment, computers, phones, and inventory before the first person is hired. Why does anyone think it is a good idea to reduce the amount of money a job creator has to expand a business thereby reducing the number of employees he or she can hire? The fact that unemployment has gone up in Illinois since the income tax was increased by 67% speaks for itself. Unemployment has gone down in all surrounding states. The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting a different outcome. It is time to stop the insanity in Illinois.

Howland

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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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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

I support local control of local schools. Parents can vote with their feet if a local school fails to meet the needs of their children. If we put the state in charge of funding, then we will have more politically directed mandates imposed on local schools eliminating any innovation at the local level making all Illinois schools equally bad. I am a strong proponent of school choice which puts the parents in charge of finding a better school for their children instead of bureaucrats. This is also supported by Senate leaders in the black community like the Reverend James Meeks. We have co-sponsored a school choice bill. It is time to take the power over our children away from bureaucrats and teachers unions and give it back to the parents.

Howland

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What is your view on gay marriage?     
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    ALL
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    Duffy
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    Howland
Duffy

I did not run for office to advocate for-or-against any specific social issues. I ran for office to encourage job growth, fight corruption, and keep taxes low. I do not support gay marriage. The legislature passed a civil union's bill which makes the union a legal partnership. Marriage is a religious sacrament. The state of Illinois should certainly not be in the position of dictating or changing religious doctrine.

Howland

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The candidates
Dan Duffy

Dan Duffy

Wa29howland.jpg

Wa29howland.jpg

 

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The district
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