Stephanie’s thoughts on some of the top issues facing our area…
I believe that both state and local governments should play a strong role in promoting economic development and job creation. Some ways to do this include providing tax credits and incentives to businesses that hire more employees and by making sure our tax code does not put too large of a burden on Illinois employers. At the state level, I support extending the state’s research and development tax credit and the net operating loss deduction. Here in Aurora we have provided incentives to companies like Peerless Inc, the Premium Outlet Mall and FHP-Berger in order for them to relocate here. We also provided incentives for the expansion of the Central DuPage Hospital.
In light of recent tax breaks for large corporations, I believe the state needs to refocus on helping small businesses. The 84th District contains a large number of small businesses, many of which are struggling through the recession. We need to do more to help these companies, because the jobs they provide are just as valuable as the jobs that larger businesses provide. I believe the state should provide tax cuts specifically to small businesses targeted at helping them expand and create additional jobs.
At the same time I think we need to stop corporations from holding the state hostage, being given large tax breaks and then closing stores and eliminating jobs. I will fight for stronger laws that require businesses that eliminate or move jobs out of state to refund the breaks they received. We have similar requirements in local agreements Aurora has made to attract businesses, and I would like to see the state take a tougher stance as well.
Taxpayers have been hit with many tax and fee increases recently, including a higher state income tax as well as increased Tollway and Metra rates. We need to look for more creative solutions, including consolidating different agencies and levels of government, in order to get state spending in line before we ask taxpayers to contribute to even more to a state that does not have its budget under control. I am against raising taxes on the middle class and support repealing the state income tax increase.
I hear from voters at the door nearly every day about how the high property tax rates they pay make it difficult for them to make ends meet. Homeowners are continuing to have to pay more and more in property taxes even as the values of their homes decrease. I support legislation that would freeze property tax levies during years when property values decline.
A bloated state budget full of wasteful spending shortchanges taxpayers, state vendors and those who depend on state services. I will work to make sure Illinois government starts to live within its means, just like every family has to do when working with their household budget. The General Assembly should review all programs and every expenditure each year to make sure every penny of taxpayer money is spent wisely. Cuts will have to be made during this process. We can start with reducing the size of the state’s vehicle fleet, cutting out the state’s airfleet, and combining the Treasurer’s and Comptroller’s offices. Just like many local families, the state needs to look at creative ways to make do with less. In order to ensure lawmakers share in the sacrifice, I will push to cut legislators’ pay by ten percent.
As both a mother of two children attending public schools and a substitute teacher, I understand the extreme importance of education to our community. We are lucky to have some quality schools in our area, and we need to work to ensure that our schools continue to get better. I will fight to make sure our local school districts receive their fair share of state funding, make sure schools get a share of any new state revenues, and insist that the state and federal governments help pay for any costly mandates they impose.
WHAT MAKES YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE?
I have a unique background that I think is needed in Springfield. As a mother of two, I understand the daily challenges that families face across the state in making ends meet and ensuring our kids are safe and have access to quality education. As a substitute teacher I know the dedication that many of our teachers bring to the classroom every day and I also understand what the state needs to do to help make our schools better. As a veteran of the Marine Corps I have a real sense of duty to serve our community and I will bring a commitment to getting the job done in Springfield. As someone who has worked in financial planning and advising, I understand budgeting and know that the state needs some serious reform in order to get back on track. And as an alderman for the City of Aurora, I have helped create real jobs in our community and increased public safety. I plan on being a full-time state representative that will commit every day towards improving Illinois.