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State Senate, District 40

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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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Toi W. Hutchinson
Political party: Democrat
Birthdate: 5/20/1973
Occupation: State Senator/State of Illinois
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Paul Hutchinson

Education:

I attended Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields and graduated in 1991. I completed a Bachelors degree in English with supporting course work in Psychology in 1998 and I am currently a law student at Northern Illinois College of Law with an anticipated completion in 2014 because of campaign and legislative cycles.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

National Conference of State Legislatures- Budget and Revenue Committee
2012 Edgar Fellow

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

I have been the State Senator for about 3 years. Previously, I was the Olympia Fields Clerk.

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

Joseph C. "Tuck" Marshall
Political party: Republican
Birthdate: 5/1/1946
Occupation: Semi-retired Executive
Marital status: Married 45 yrs
Spouse: Kathryn

Education:

St. Mary Star of the Sea Grade School, Brother rices High School, Northern Illinois University B. S. Marketing

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Great Northern Sportsmen Club, IL Association Mortgage Professionals,NAtional assoc. Mortgage Brokers,National Rifle Association, National, Assoc of Realtors, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assoc, Frankfort Township Republican Org.
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Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

US Army, Anna McDonald Grade School Bd, Lincoln-Way Special Education Bd.

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

N/A

Campaign information
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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

Campaign headquarters: 222 Vollmer Road, Suite 2C, Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Website: toihutchinson.com
Campaign manager: Ted Mason
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

Marshall

Campaign headquarters: 150 Marketplace Manhattan IL 60442
Website: www.Electtuckmarshall.com
Campaign manager: Mark Ritter
Campaign budget: $250,000.00
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Otto Industries, Family & Friends Check Bd of Elections

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

I recognize that our pension liabilities are a very serious issue. During my first years in office, I supported landmark pension reform (Senate Bill 1946). Those reforms are set to save the state nearly $119 billion over the next 35 years according to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

Regarding benefits for current employees, I recognize that there are several differing legal opinions on this matter, but the majority view is that we cannot alter current employee benefits. I understand that a principle of contract law is assent and that offering employees a choice must be an element that will allow any reforms to be constitutional. However, I voted against bills like SB1673 because just as I am opposed to the state not paying its' debts to small contractors and business I believe that the state must honor its' obligations to retirees today. While the legal questions about the reductions of benefits will continue, what we can do is look at the $83 billion in unfunded liabilities that is continuing to grow absent action. We need to amortize this debt much like a mortgage payment, creating a stable payment that Illinois can pay in full every month, ending the decades-long travesty of using the pension fund as the state's piggybank. I will support pension reform that targets the cause of the problem and finds a solution to fix it. The cause of our backlog is not the size of the benefits. It was 30 years of skipping payments.

We should restructure the ramp legislation of 1995, which if allowed to continue unabated would mean a $17 billion pension payment in the year 2045. We need to restructure the ramp so we can put Illinois more in line with the majority of states who are between 80-90% funded. All of these reforms, including outlawing egregious abuses, changes to future retirees' packages, couple with common sense business tools to amortize the unfunded liability today will send a strong signal to the bond houses that Illinois is finally serious about creating a long term plan to handle our massive debt without excessively punishing the 98% of retirees who did not cause this problem. Ignoring this is not an option any longer.

I will continue to be open to future reforms that will bring solvency to our pension systems and our state's long-term budget outlook.

Marshall

N/A

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

Please see above answer.

Marshall

Did not respond

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

Did not respond

Marshall

Not exactly.

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

Did not respond

Marshall

If pension should be shifted back to local taxing bodies the following must occur:
1. Pensions and all other levy funds should be under a hard
PTELLcap so the responsibility is not pushed onto the tax payers.
2. Freeze property taxes for the next 3-5yrs.
3. Money from the shift should be managed in a new account forcing the stateto meet the current pension liability.
4.Use IRS rules for accounting, ie All taxing bodies with more than $5 million in revenue must use accrual accounting instead of Cash accounting.
5. Cap retoree benefits for future employees, ie those not vested making a hybrid systemwith the rest going to a 401(k) similar to Rhode Island.
6.Revert COLA 1.5% non-compounded.
7. Retirees making $100,000 or with a pension greater than final working salary should pay minimum 25% of their health insurance costs.
8. Increase the retirement age.

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

The majority of people who receive Medicaid are children and Medicare-eligible seniors. I do not believe that closing the safety net for poor children and poor or disabled seniors is good public policy when we will have to pay for their care anyway when they appear in an emergency room at three times the cost. Common sense reforms, like eligibility checks and service delivery efficiencies, are absolutely needed to ensure that we don't forgo precious dollars on waste, fraud or corruption. However, health care for our most vulnerable citizens is something that must be protected, especially by the richest nation on earth. It was for these reasons that I voted against the cuts to Medicaid.

We need to work posthaste to ensure that Illinois has a health care exchange under the rules of the ACA to ensure the ability of lower-income people to be able to access health insurance. This could save millions by moving the people at the top of the Medicaid eligibility thresholds into insurance pools. This would allow us to save critical dollars that could be spent on the most vulnerable in our population that need it the most.

Marshall

All government programs should be means tested for income, net worth, residency and citizenship.

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

If we are able to create a realistic solution to our pension crisis, and if we are able to create a real plan to deal with our long-term debt while the markets are trading at historic lows, then I believe we should allow the increase to expire on schedule. At that point we should re-examine the small percentage that will remain in effect.

Marshall

No income tax increases!!

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

I support an overhaul of the Illinois tax code in its entirety. I believe that a graduated income tax structure would be fairer to small businesses as well as the people of Illinois. Since the biggest issues we will have to tackle are that Illinois still underfunds its' schools, putting it at a disadvantage with other states. We generally do not tax services while most of our surrounding states do and I believe there is a potential to broaden the base in order to lower the rates. The reality is when the income tax expires, we will have another $7 billion hole in our budget. This will require people who are willing to have an honest, realistic, comprehensive conversation about taxes in order to create viable solutions that stabilize our economy. There is no such thing as balancing a budget on only one side of the ledger. We cannot balance the budget with only cuts, nor can we balance the budget with only revenue. This means we cannot be afraid to talk about taxes.
The state is in the process of evaluating a completely rewritten corporate tax code. Our structural deficit is based on the fact that 2/3 of corporations in the state of Illinois have zero corporate tax liability. It is time for us to acknowledge that our tax code is an antiquated version of a 1970 tax code designed for an economy that no longer exists. We will always struggle with structural deficits and artificial winners and losers until we address that fact.

Marshall

Reduce business taxes. Audit rules and regulations that apply to each industry and determine which are job killers and irrational.

Jobs which require licensing must be governed only by commissioners and deputy with years of experience in the field which they are to supervise.

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

Yes.

Marshall

We have enough gambling now. No more!!

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

The cuts to education, health care, and social services have been devastating and I do not believe they should be targeted any more, especially since they have suffered cuts disproportionately to all other areas of spending.

However, there are places where we can do better. We do not do a good job of evaluating tax incentives to ascertain their effectiveness. And the states are locked in very high stakes competition with each other for jobs and corporations know it. There are tax incentives that, when used wisely, benefit the state tremendously, like the EDGE credits that added 1,200 new jobs to the Ford plant in my district. We need to recognize that tax incentives are spending as well and we should work to ensure that our business environment is competitive and fosters growth while we are funding core services of government in the areas that we need, especially education. I believe that you cannot be pro business without being pro education. Illinois has thousands of jobs today that are unfilled due to a lack of trained workers. In these economic times, that is simply unacceptable.

I would absolutely want to see more investment in education, particularly at the community college level. Our community colleges educate 64 percent of our college level students and older workers who are retooling for the new economy, but only receive 14 percent of higher education dollars. Community colleges are the only institutions nimble enough to train workers quickly as new industries grow and our economy changes. We need to do much more to make sure that they are accessible to any student who wishes to attend, any adult who needs new certifications for jobs that didn't exist 10 years ago and any student who wants to ease into four year schools while saving tremendous amounts of money in their first two years. I believe that greater cooperation between community colleges and our manufacturing, service, and transportation sectors is the fastest way we can really create new jobs and retain the ones we have as we come out of this recession. Companies locate where are there skilled people to hire.

Marshall

Forensic Audit of State Books and a Personnel Audit of jobs to determine the vast corruption in Illinois.

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

I believe there is no greater disinfectant to corruption than sunshine. Strong disclosure laws and real-time reporting would do more than almost anything else to curve the influence of hidden money in our election cycles. As long as the Citizen United ruling stands I do not support capping state party leader donations. However, I would support a strong and robust public campaign finance system.

Marshall

Cap campaign funding and what state party leaders can contribute. Reexamine ethics and include new penalties for violations.

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

Yes.

Marshall

No

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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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

It is unconscionable that the quality of public education your child receives is dictated by where he or she happens to live in this state. That is inherently unfair. I am a proponent of the income tax/property tax swap because every child, no matter where they live, deserves access to a high quality education. I also think that we will not be able to have a realistic debate about school funding absent a realistic debate about a progressive tax code.

Marshall

Yes. And Vouchers should be an integral part of the funding mechanism. We have to force families and locals to get involved.

What is your view on gay marriage?     
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    Hutchinson
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    Marshall
Hutchinson

I support gay marriage.

Marshall

I've been married for almost 45 years to the same lovely woman and best friend therefore I believe the definition is between a man and a woman. Let the Lawyers Complicate the rest.

The candidates
Toi W. Hutchinson

Toi W. Hutchinson

 

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The district
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