With Election Day rapidly approaching, the campaign for Illinois governor has been contentious, to say the least - with ad after ad saturating the state and each of the candidates firing off countless attacks on their opponents at every turn.
To help cut through the noise, we asked all four candidates 11 of the most important questions to help inform voters on who they are and where they stand on certain issues facing Illinois.
Below are Conservative candidate for governor Sam McCann's answers as they were submitted —
1. What are the three biggest issues you see facing the state and what are your plans to address them?
The three biggest issues facing the state of Illinois are finances, crumbling infrastructure, and trust in government. To address the state’s finances, I would revolutionize the budget process by implementing Zero Based Budgeting. ZBB is something the state of Illinois should utilize so that we are not offering these ineffective, broad-based budget solutions that fall apart once the nuance of government finance is realized. Zero Based Budgeting seeks to ensure that taxes are being spent as efficiently as possible and within the needs of the fiscal year. The current system of budgeting allows itself to be corrupted by funding special programs in perpetuity while neglecting new needs as they arise which means the funds are not there to adequately address the issues the State faces. Until we implement ZBB, no meaningful debt reduction will ever take place, regardless of taxes collected.
I will work across party lines to get a capital bill- something that is greatly needed and that has been ignored by the current administration. I will also work with the Trump Administration to get federal dollars to help pay for this much needed project. As far as financing goes, I think making sure we can not sweep road funds is a good public policy to ensure the money is there for this Capital Plan but also, I believe government should look how to leverage Federal, State, County, and Local money to ensure we are being as effective as possible with these capital dollars. Additionally, we currently collect sales tax on top of motor fuel tax on gasoline and highway diesel sales. I will lead an effort to send the state’s share of the sales tax to the Road Fund and not the General Revenue Fund, where it too often gets used by politicians to buy votes. We will use dollars for their intended purposes.
To address trust in government, that starts with leadership at the top. Bruce Rauner and JB Pritzker have made a bunch of money playing in a corrupt system that rewards the powerful and the well connected. I believe that as a member of the middle class, and as a proven public servant who has always put our Constitution and the People first, the Citizens will respect the fact that I’m not a billionaire governor playing in the sandbox of the new game of kings, Illinois politics. Also, we need real reform on how government works such as term limits- I have term limited myself, property tax reform, lobbying reform, and procurement reform.
2. Should you be elected governor, what are your immediate priorities for 2019?
- To begin crafting a balanced budget based on our Zero Based Budgeting model. The Governor's Budget Address will be delivered approximately one month after taking office. I will introduce the first TRULY balanced budget in decades, and I will begin working with the General Assembly immediately in order to pass a balanced budget.
- I would re-amortize the debt and flatten out the pension ramp. Springfield needs to have the fiscal discipline to pay the pension debt and I will push for reforms to hold them accountable. I would support legislation that makes the members of the legislature and governor’s office fiduciarily responsible for the pension funds and subject to legal action if they fail to properly manage the funds on behalf of the workers and taxpayers
- To begin working with the legislature on developing a new Capital Bill to repair deficient infrastructure. My goal will be to pass the new Capital Bill within the first hundred days, because Illinois' crumbling infrastructure can wait no longer.
3. How do you plan to work with President Donald Trump's administration?
I am the ONLY candidate that has made working with the Trump administration as part of my platform. Our current governor refuses to acknowledge the very existence of our President, let alone work with him. Mr Pritzker wants to quarantine Illinois from President Trump, as if POTUS were a contagion. I look forward to building a strong partnership with the President and key members of his administration, for the good of our state and her People.
4. Where do you stand on the implementation of a graduated income tax? If you support it, how do you plan to implement it?
As previously stated, I believe we need to bring back Zero Based Budgeting. We need to treat the need of each fiscal year differently and have funding mechanisms that match that system. Let’s have a meaningful, open and honest conversation about EXPENSES FIRST, then we can talk about the income (taxes) side of the balance sheet.
5. Do you believe Illinois should legalize recreational marijuana? If so, how would you make this happen?
Recreational Marijuana use is still a federal crime. The former President, as well as the current President have instructed the DOJ to turn a blind eye to those governmental entities that have gone outside the law and "legalized" the recreational use of Marijuana. Until and unless the federal law banning recreational marijuana use is changed, I don't think that Illinois or any other local or state government should engage in the conversation of "legalization."
6. Do you support term limits for elected officials? If so, how would you make this happen?
As outlined in the Illinois Constitution, the governor plays no official role in placing a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot (which is what it would take to "make this happen."). The governor’s signature is not required, needed, nor allowed. To answer what I believe to be the intent of your question, Yes, I not only support term limits, but I have also term-limited myself, after giving my word in the 2010 election that I would serve no more than 10 years in the Senate. At the end of this term, I will have served 8 years, and I am not seeking re-election. I am a man of my word.
7. What is your plan to address Illinois' unfunded pension liability?
Please see question #2 above.
8. What do you believe can or should be done on the state level to address rising property taxes?
Property taxes desperately need to be brought under control. It nearly bankrupts Illinois families and businesses when that bill comes due every year. Because property taxes are levied and received by local governments, not state or federal governments, the solution lies in broad based overall tax reform, which will require a conversation between state government leaders and local government officials. I look forward to leading that conversation.
9. What do you believe can or should be done on the state level to curb violence in Chicago?
I believe that we need to remove the restrictions on Conceal Carry Permit holders so they can carry their legally acquired firearm in the areas that they need it most. The places that are excluded by our current laws, only serve to create gun-free zones which is where criminals tend to perpetrate their crimes. We need to give law abiding citizens a fighting chance instead of tying their hands behind their backs while violating their 2nd Amendment Rights. Additionally, I look forward to working with the Trump Administration and the DOJ in realizing actual solutions instead of perpetually replicating the same tried and failed policies of the past and current leadership in both the state and the city. The overall solution can be found in our Community Empowerment Initiative (CEI,) in which is outlined the restoration of the family unit, community owned neighborhood businesses, and stopping the gentrification of neighborhoods across the city.
10. What experiences in your life have most shaped your politics?
McCann did not submit a response.
11. What accomplishment or achievement of yours are you most proud of?
McCann did not submit a response.