Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Proft for Governor

If you are unhappy with the direction party leaders are taking this state, I believe Dan is the man.


August 25, 2009

I Thought I Was Running in the Republican Primary, Part 2

There are two kinds of candidates in the GOP race for Governor: candidates who want to bicker as to the best way to finance the status quo; and me—the candidate who has thrown down the gauntlet to take on the status quo.

So what distinguishes my opponents from their Democratic counterparts? What policy proposals do they bring to the table that suggests they are ready to present a clear, contrast vision to the Chicago 9’s reign? You be the judge:

State Sen. Matt Murphy claims he is against tax increases to balance the state budget. But just yesterday, he was quoted in Crain’s as favoring more borrowing; the exact thing that Springfield legislators did this summer. The interest payments on state debt will eventually be paid not by the bond fairies but by Illinois taxpayers through increased state levies. In other words, more borrowing is nothing more than a backdoor tax increase. Wrong answer.

Borrowing from tomorrow to pay for yesterday should not be the Republican strategy.

In that same article, Murphy also proposed a massive expansion of gambling to include a Chicago casino and slot machines at O’Hare. Wrong answer.

Sen. Murphy voted against the $3.5 billion borrowing scheme earlier this summer but supports borrowing. Sen. Murphy voted against the video gambling expansion to fund the capital construction bill but he supports massive gambling expansion.

Perhaps Murphy’s objections to the Chicago Democrats taxing and spending and borrowing schemes are that they were too modest in scope?

DuPage County President Bob Schillerstrom is leading the charge against video poker in DuPage County to finance infrastructure programs. I agree with him on this point. Gambling is both effectively a regressive tax as well as an unreliable revenue stream. Further, gambling expansion is a crutch for politicians who do not want to make tough decisions about spending and who are not serious about fundamentally restructuring the big ticket systems in state government.

But Schillerstrom suggests replacing one regressive tax with three others. In place of gambling revenue, he told the Daily Herald that he would consider hiking the gasoline tax, the alcohol tax, and vehicle fees on top of the increases on these items already slated to take effect next year.

Any credible candidate must recognize that Illinois has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Schillerstrom would replace one regressive tax with an even worse regressive tax. Hiking the tax on gasoline not only disproportionately punishes low and middle income families; it also increases the cost of doing business at a time when businesses are fleeing Illinois like it is on fire. Wrong answer.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, the self-proclaimed “camera-ready” Hinsdale Republican, who by the way appeared in a campaign commercial for Barack Obama, voted for the video gambling expansion to fund state infrastructure. Three months later, he said his vote was a mistake but that he had a “gun to his head” and had to vote yea on the bill. In his own words, Sen. Dillard confirms that he isn’t willing to stand up to pressure from entrenched interests.

Other milestones along Dillard’s long path of least resistance to the Chicago 9 include being one of only four GOP State Senators to cross party lines in order to vote for Rod Blagojevich’s $10 billion bond scheme in 2003 -- a deal which doubled the state’s bonded indebtedness in one fell swoop.

Last year, Dillard was one of only three GOP State Senators to vote to increase the sales tax in Cook and the collar counties to bail out the mismanaged Regional Transit Authority (which was really a bailout of CTA), an entity that is already subsidized by the state for half of its operating budget each year. Dillard has said his vote to hike the sales tax was in exchange for more suburban control of RTA. The reality is his vote financed the status quo without substantially shifting the balance of power away from Chicago.

Conceding the important points to Democrats, my opponents instead choose to quibble over the details. They support more borrowing or higher taxes or expanded gambling or all of the above.

At least the Democrats are transparent about their tax hikes. They come right out and tell you they want to jack the state income tax and state corporate income tax by 50%. These GOP officeholders are proposing hidden tax increases at the same time as they are congratulating themselves for opposing the Democrats’ tax increases.

My opponents are wrapped up in the minutiae of how best to finance the status quo whereas I want to fight the status quo with bold, system change ideas.

I am the only candidate who has proposed cutting taxes on productive activities like work and investment. Specifically, where Gov. Quinn and Mike Madigan want to increase state income taxes 50%, I have proposed cutting them by 50%. I have also proposed eliminating the state’s graduated estate tax so that grandma and grandpa might consider retiring in Illinois.

I am the only candidate who has proposed statutory spending caps on state government while unequivocally stating my opposition to more borrowing and expanding gambling.

For Republicans who think our state’s problems can be solved by tinkering on the margins and through closer cooperation with the current power structure, there are plenty of those options in this primary.

For Republicans who think it is time we un-fix Illinois and re-establish our party as one with big policy ideas that flow from clearly defined first principles that substantively address the pressing issues of the day, there is only one option, Proft for Governor.

The Republican Party is in danger of wasting the historic opportunity it has to take back Illinois for the people who play by the rules in this state.

If we want to seize the opportunity, we need to put forward a candidate for Governor ready, willing, and able to impose a reckoning on those currently in power; to present a clear conservative reform agenda; and to articulate a cogent, contrast vision for Illinois.


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