Political Fact of the Day: A flat tax means that despite your earnings, everyone pays the same percentage, though typically a minimum amount of income is necessary to pay the tax. In a progressive tax system, the more you earn, the more you pay in taxes, and the percentage of your income that is taxed. However, the percentage has a maximum value that can never go higher, and once again, there is a minimum income necessary to begin paying the tax. Flat taxes favor anyone who earns middle-class or higher wages, while Progressive taxes typically favor poor income families and those living in poverty. Flat Taxes are called flat because the rates are flat, or equal; Progressive taxes because the rates progressively increase, significantly increase.
Illinois Citizens Should Know: The current state Minimum Wage is $8.25 per hour with proposals for this to increase over the next ten years. Currently all states bordering Illinois have Minimum wages at $7.25 (Missouri has theirs at 7.50). It should also be noted that Illinois’ law only applies to businesses with four or more employees, excluding family member staff, while most of the bordering states have no exclusion or have the exclusion for number of employees being lower, and without the family exemption.
Illinois, 2014 Governor’s Race, THE GOP CANDIDATES
Bruce Rauner “The Chicago Republican”
Chairman of the R8 Capital Partners, he is one of several candidates for the Republican primary for governor. Currently he is the front-runner, and he hails from Chicago. For the Purposes of this subject, he will earn the effective label “Chicago Republican”. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in Economics and then went to Harvard University to receive his MBA. He currently is the Chairman of the Education Committee of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago. Rauner also was Co-chair of the Chicago-China Initiative, and was chairman of the ACT Charter School. He is a former Chairman of Choose Chicago, and was a former Chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund.
There are some ‘scandals’ associated with him. In 2008, his daughter failed to be given admission through regular processes at Walter Payton Prep School in Chicago. Later on, his daughter was admitted to the school through a principal picks process, in which the principal gives special dispensation for a student to be admitted into the school. The CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan claims to have told him about the process, of which Rauner claims he never had the conversation. He then proceeded to donate $250,000 to the school in its next academic year.
This time last year, Rauner had been improperly claiming homestead exemptions. He had done this for several years on two of his homes, and when an article from the Daily Herald reported the information, he responded immediately. He immediately paid back the $1,616 he owed in savings for misfiling and distributed through his own press that he had made a mistake and he had gone about correcting it. These improper exemptions occurred from 2008 to 2011.
Bruce Rauner’s current campaign issues are Jobs, Spending, Taxes, Pension Reform, Government Reform, and Education.
On Jobs & Taxes, he wants to remove the Quinn-Madigan tax increases, and try to “fair” out the tax code entirely, this typically means aiming for a flatter tax on citizens, rather than the current progressive one.
He wants to institute Right-To-Work zones, and allow workers to decide if they have to join a union to receive employment.
He wants to enact tort reform and reduce lawsuit abuse.
Finally he wants to make the Illinois’ minimum wage laws competitive with other states, meaning he would reduce the state minimum wage.
Bill Brady, “The Social Conservative”
State Senator Brady has been on this track twice before. Brady graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University, and after graduation began to work in the family real-estate developing industry. Brady currently co-owns Brady Homes, which is one of the largest Home Builders in Central Illinois, and he runs it with his father. He has been representing the 44th Legislative District since being appointed to it in May 2002. He served previously in the Illinois House of Representatives, representing the 88th district from 1993 to 2000. In 2006 he ran for Governor of Illinois the first time, and lost in the primaries. In 2010, Bill Brady won the primaries, but failed to beat Incumbent Pat Quinn by 32,000 votes.
The only scandal to Bill Brady’s name currently is the fact that as of 2014, Brady Homes, whom he shares ownership in with his father, has been sued twice for defaulting on their loans.
In the State Legislatures, Brady has made several attempts to enact a “dime cut from every dollar spent” reform to the budget and its deficit. Currently, Illinois’ budget deficit is $13 Billion, with the overall economy of Illinois recently being rated worst in the nation.
On Education, Bill Brady seeks to replace the State Board of Education with a smaller agency that would receive half the funding it has now. He believes that Intelligent Design has a place in academia, while he believes the Bible should be advocated as part of a child’s curriculum, he has stated that the children should have access to the Bible and to other books, such as the Qur’an. He believes that local school boards should be able to decide their stances on intelligent design in the schools, and should be able to dictate whether they want to participate in a school prayer. Brady additionally believes that there should be incentives in place for private schools where the tuitions are funded in equal part to public and private schools by the state.
On Employment, Bill Brady has established he would like to reduce the Minimum wage law to the 7.25 per hour amount that bordering states have. Bill Brady has stated that he would freeze the state minimum wage law and then have the state maintain its rate at the same level as the federal minimum wage. He doesn’t believe that government heavy-handedness in the market is long-term effective.
Bill Brady has previously sought to have the suspension of the death penalty lifted.
On Abortion issues, Bill Brady pronounces himself pro-life. He seeks to abolition all forms of abortion, including accounts of rape and incest. He does allow an exception for when the mother’s life is put in danger. Brady has supported legislation in the past that would allow pharmacists to not sell contraceptives from their stores.
On Same-Sex Marriage, Bill Brady on February 10, 2010 introduced a state constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as being between “one man and one woman”. It would have also denied same-sex couples to seek other forms of legal unions by denying validity or recognition of any same sex civil union, domestic partnership, or any such relationship. Brady feels opposed to any institution being adopted that would grant legal status in any shape or form to same-sex couples.
On Medicaid, Brady seeks to reduce funding for the state program. He has offered to institute a Welfare Fraud Department, which would help clean up claims in the system. He has also voiced support for a transition from the current Medicaid system to a HMO-style approach for Medicaid recipients, so that costs in the healthcare system could be reduced.
Bill Brady on other issues has voted close to what his label of him would be, Social Conservative. He has voted against Stem Cell Research, Marijuana Legalization, and forcing Private Insurers to offer contraception drug coverage. He has supported concealed carry legalization, the institution of term limits in both State Legislatures, a reduction in Sales Taxes, Mass Euthanasia of cats and dogs, and Capping Campaign Donations.
Kirk W. Dillard, “Old-School Establishment”
State Senator Dillard is another of the 4 major contenders in this year’s Republican Primary. Prior to His time as State Senator, Dillard was Chairman of the DuPage County Republican Party. Dillard currently is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, serving as the Illinois state leader. He took office as Senator of the 24th district of Illinois back in 1994, and has since been their Senator. Senator Dillard graduated from Western Illinois University, and then attained his Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law. He also serves at the University of Chicago as a Public Policy mentor.
In 1991, he served as Chief of Staff for then Governor Jim Edgar, during Edgar’s first term. He also served as Governor James Thompson’s Director of Legislative Affairs. From 1987-1991, Dillard was a judge on the Illinois Court of Claims and served as a member on the Republican Illinois State Central Committee. He currently is on the Board of Directors for Robert Crown Center for Health Education and a practicing partner at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP.
In his tenure as State Senator, he served as a Republican Party Whip and was Assistant Minority Leader. In 2007, he appeared in advertisement that gave an endorsement to then Democrat candidate hopeful, Barack Obama. Dillard is active in a handful of Senate committees and currently chairs the Judiciary Committee and the High Technology Task Force.
He has run for governor in the past, using his association with campaign finance reform to make broad statements about his attempts to reform the system and make the state more financially responsible to the taxpayers. Even though Dillard barely lost the primary to Bill Brady, he refused to concede he had lost his opportunity for some time.
On Campaign Financing, he sponsored the bill that would become Illinois’ first donations reform in 25 years. This was his platform in 2010, and is the issue discussed by him in his 2014 campaign.
On the Budget, Dillard seeks to establish a constitutional amendment that would force legislators to pass a balanced, zeroed budget at the expense of their paychecks covering the deficit.
On Gun Rights, Dillard admits that his family is filled with hunters and sportsmen and that gun rights are a necessary part of Illinois as they are part of the Constitution. He also states he was the first to sponsor concealed-carry legislation and received the NRA’s endorsement during the 2010 gubernatorial primary race.
On Abortion, Kirk takes credit for the Parental Notice Law and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. He also claims to have the unanimous support of 32 pro-life organizations over the other 2014 gubernatorial candidates.
Dan Rutherford, “The Fiscal Conservative”
Dan Rutherford serves as Treasurer of Illinois, having taken the office when then Treasurer Giannoulias stepped down from office. Until then, Rutherford had served as Senator for the 53rd district of Illinois from 2003 to 2011; prior to that he was the Representative for the 87th district in the Illinois House from 1993 to 2003. Rutherford attended Illinois State University and in 1980 became a legislative assistant in Springfield, Illinois. Because he helped coordinate a congressional district for the Governor’s campaign, Rutherford was brought on the Reagan-Bush 1980 campaign as the Executive Director.
Following his time in the campaign, Rutherford began to travel, and in Japan in 1984, became acquainted with the ServiceMaster Company. The next year, he joined Downers Grove as an executive and eventually became responsible for the company’s international expansion into other businesses. His international business dealings were primarily in licensing services. Downers Grove was a part of the ServiceMaster Company, and today companies such as Terminix, Tru-Green, Merry Maids, American Home Shield, and Rescue Rooter are all part of the ServiceMaster Company.
While serving as Senator, Rutherford sponsored legislation that would have impacted the repayment to nursing homes for elderly care. The new system considered the needs of the resident, rather than their geographical location. In 2005, Rutherford attempted to challenge Secretary of State Jesse White for his office. In the 2010 Illinois Treasurer’s Race, Rutherford competed with 3 other candidates for the open seat.
Rutherford most recently has been accused of sexual harassment. Edmund Michalowski, a former employee of Mr. Rutherford, filed a federal complaint that he had been harassed by Rutherford and that he had received pressure to contribute to the political campaign while being on the state’s time. Rutherford has denied the allegations, saying that Rauner paid Michalowski to put this out, as an attempt to smear Rutherford’s chances.
Rutherford has several papers out, detailing his opinions on various things. He seeks to increase state support for the coal industry and the pursuit of clean coal technologies. He is utilizing his reforming of nursing home system to point out his dedication to efficiently using state resources and cutting excess. Dan Rutherford does not seek to increase or decrease the state Minimum Wage law at this time. He claims to be able to refocus and provide long-term planning and strategy to the prison and mental institutions of Illinois. Rutherford believes that reductions alone will not solve the Illinois deficit, but balancing the budget will be a top priority of his administration.
He supports concealed carry as how the laws of other states have concealed carry. Due to the federal illegality of marijuana, Rutherford does not support legalization at the state level at this time. Rutherford supports an initiative that would entrust an 11-member “Bipartisan Commission” to redraw the legislative districts of Illinois without all the gerrymandering. Rutherford supports the expansion of gaming as long as proper oversight and regulation is implemented prior to the licensing of a casino. Rutherford appears to be mixed on his support for tax credits to business. He doesn’t feel it’s the agenda of the state to give some citizens breaks without access to the breaks for all citizens.
As a side note, he is currently supportive of adding Poland to the Visa Waivers list that contains other countries that America gives preferential entry into the US.
So who is the best candidate for your ideals?
When examining these four guys, and considering the policies that each of them suggest or have previously fought for, it is not easy to say there is one clearly superior candidate. Clearly if you feel really strongly against gay marriage and abortion rights, you’ll support Bill Brady, and or maybe Kirk Dillard. However of these two individuals, Bill Brady has more ideas on how to effectively handle the economics of Illinois. That being said, he is the more conservative of the two candidates. That’s just simple fact and despite all negative ads Dillard can use, he’ll always be that Moderate Conservative to Bill Brady’s Social Conservative. Especially with that attractive ad endorsing future Democrat candidate Barack Obama. Anyone who claims to be a friend and agree with the values of President Obama either is lying to themselves about being Republican, or they are con man.
Looking at Dan Rutherford versus Bruce Rauner on the “Fiscal Conservative” side of arguments, well, I just cannot take Mr. Rauner as a serious Republican. Rauner has a lot of political clout in Chicago, and to his defense, he’s done a lot of good there in Chicago. BUT, once a Chicago politician, always a Chicago politician. Rauner is a wealthy man, but he’s not a “traditional” business man, he is a Wall Street guy, and if you find yourself irritated with wealthy, moderate Republicans dictating policy, I don’t think you’ll find solace in him. Mr. Rutherford, well, I guess it really depends on how you feel about the men he’s established as being tied to. If you liked James Thompson and Jim Edgar, former Governors of Illinois, then I am sure you can expect similar policies. Some things to note though: Rutherford has a history of being acceptable of gay marriage and associating with folks who are lobby for the right to marriage. He also believes in some exclusions on gay marriage, at least in part on how he has voted in the General Asssembly of Illinois.
At that point, it’s Bill Brady versus Dan Rutherford as the legitimate candidates representing sincere Republican values, not Chicago values or wishy-washy moderate values. So choose for yourselves this day, for whom you shall stand! Shall you be a Fiscal Conservative and bet on Dan Rutherford to turn the economy around? Or shall you be a Social Conservative and bet on Bill Brady to restore the moral fabric of Illinois?
As a voter in this primary election, I can honestly say that Bill Brady is a genuine man who can easily be portrayed as a hatemonger because of his beliefs, but he honestly tries to do a good job for his district. But I find myself liking Rutherford, despite the “scandal of harassment” because anyone that requires being taken down by a Chicago-style scandal must truly be of worth. Oh and, I don’t mind offering Equal Protection Under The Law that has been given to us, the American people, by the Highest Law of the Land, the American Constitution. I find candidates who campaign on moral woes rather than solving problems that can be solved to be frustrating.
But hey, I am a Libertarian, and this is just my ideas.
The Republican Primary ballot vote is March 18, 2014. Please remember to vote. One vote won’t decide the election, but a choir of votes joined together in ideals can swing the election around. Convince your neighbors, your friends, and family in Illinois to vote. 1 person can’t change much, 10 can do little, but 100, or even 1000 can swing the election from one candidate to another. It only took 32,000 for Quinn to win in 2010, and in that same election cycle, Bill Brady beat Kirk Dillard last primary by 200 VOTES.