What you should know about Tom on the issues

Tom Georges for Illinois State Senate District 26

The Conservative Progressionist – fiscally conservative and socially progressive. Service, Integrity, Focused, and Ready. Dedicated to Creating Solutions for Illinois.

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✓ Economy: It is important that all Illinois legislators work together and regularly pass a state budget.

It is important that all Illinois legislators work together and regularly pass a state budget. Illinois finally has an approved budget, but it is still one of the lowest rated states in the nation. I think it is difficult to resolve education, pensions, and property taxes without increasing income or other outside-the-box approaches to increase income. Progressive Income Tax, Increased Gaming and/or the investment in Clean Energy are options. The budget of Illinois does not operate like a family budget. Unlike families, state governments build, manage and/or maintain highways, parks, and universities; and provide services to help with health care, shelter and other basic needs. Also, to a varied extent, state government regulates business, helps stimulate the economy and must be prepared to act in times of disaster on a community scale. Just like a business, if we stay stagnant, we will not keep up with the constant changing times and long term, we will not remain competitive as a community. So, property values will decrease while taxes remain high to cover expenses (just like they are today). Illinois residents, to include our college aged children, are moving away from our community as they are attracted to newer areas which are more robust, growing and offer greater opportunity. As we should adjust and stay ahead of change, we need to plan and manage expenses. We need to stimulate the local economy, promote growth to attract and retain people, business and ultimately attract our graduating college students back home to a thriving area. Either we grow, update, and adapt to changing times, or we regress and become a stagnant district.

✓ Education: I believe education is very important and cannot over emphasize the importance of a quality education.

I believe education is very important and cannot over emphasize the importance of a quality education. The education system within the state needs a major overhaul. An educational system with the separation of charter schools and private schools is like having kids in a household having a different set of rules and guidelines in which they must follow. Competition is good and no child should be left behind but all should follow the same set of established guidelines. Our state universities must work together, acquire a better reputation and have a much better return on investment. Graduate tuition at state universities should be much more affordable and education for the first two years of undergraduate work at community colleges should be free for resident students. We need to return to the emphasis of the trades and the first two years of trade schools equivalent to the undergraduate level should be state funded.

✓ Fiscal Responsibility: Economic development (Working and investing in tomorrow and the future).

Economic development (Working and investing in tomorrow and the future). Illinois must plan for and invest in the future and operate more like a business to create alternative forms of income. Infrastructure improvement/repair, lottery, and responsible recreational marijuana legislation are a few options. The development of new and safe forms of renewable energy is potentially a huge untapped market for job growth and economic development. Illinois must plan today for what is expected tomorrow and become proactive rather than reactive.

✓ Government: I think we need to look at the elimination of levels of government and overlap of authority.

Why does Illinois have more units of local government than any other state? I think we need to look at the elimination of levels of government and overlap of authority. We should look at combining or increasing areas of responsibility which should include the number of state legislators. Many politicians talk about cost of salary and pensions so why isn’t the number of levels of government ever considered as a reduction option?

✓ Environment: Legislators should ensure measures are taken to preserve the environmental beauty of our lakes and lands.

Legislators should ensure measures are taken to preserve the environmental beauty of our lakes and lands.

✓ Guns / The Second Amendment: As a 31-year military veteran, I support the Second Amendment. That said, we choose to live in a suburban environment where additional restrictions exist in many areas...

As a 31-year military veteran, I support the Second Amendment. Weapons can become second nature to a trained, experienced, law abiding, registered citizen, occurring over time, not initially to the enthusiast. That said, we choose to live in a suburban environment where additional restrictions exist in many areas and topics for the safety and benefit of the public. I do not support military assault or automatic weapons in a large populated area.

✓ LGBTQ Equality: A family is who we choose to be with and those we love, to include the choice of a spouse.

A family is who we choose to be with and those we love, to include the choice of a spouse.

✓ Opioids: I believe the opioid addiction should be considered a public health crisis to emphasize the importance of funding treatment centers to assist affected communities and work toward combatting this crisis.

Opioid usage is becoming a major issue within many communities throughout Illinois. I believe the opioid addiction should be considered a public health crisis to emphasize the importance of funding treatment centers to assist affected communities and work toward combatting this crisis.

✓ Redistricting: As much as possible, redistricting should better follow county, city, village lines with communities of like interest.

As much as possible, redistricting should better follow county, city, village lines with communities of like interest. Pockets of communities should not be identified and included in districts to better the odds of incumbents remaining in office. Politicians must adjust to the times and reflect the constituents they represent.

✓ Roads / Transportation: District 26 has continually grown yet our transportation system is antiquated.

District 26 has continually grown yet our transportation system is antiquated. After decades of talk and no action, it is increasingly difficult to build the Route 53 extension at its current proposed location. However, I do believe that something like a Route 53 extension is needed and should be built at a new agreed upon location farther West. A highway extension farther West should limit interference to higher populated communities, wildlife and lakes while providing the much-needed jobs, growth, and increased infrastructure to attract people and businesses and potentially, the development of new suburbs. I think the expansion of Route 83 (which already connects to Route 53 and Interstate 355) and/or the expansion of Route 31 (which already connects to Route 12 in Wisconsin and Interstate 90) are the best options.

✓ State Pensions: Illinois may change the current pension system, but a pension and compensation package should be consistent throughout employment period and based on date of hire.

In 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled the proposed legislator changes to pension reform to be unconstitutional. I do not agree that legislators should propose changes to pensions which were offered to employees at time of hire and I agree with the Illinois Supreme Courts’ decision. Illinois may change the current pension system, but a pension and compensation package should be consistent throughout employment period and based on date of hire. The benefits of pensions and salaries must be weighed between what Illinois can afford and the experience of a person which accepts a position. At the time a position is offered, an individual must determine if it is in their best interest to accept or deny working in a position. Benefits of an individual should not change after time of hire. As figures may vary, Illinois average teacher’s salary is ranked 11th while the per capita education expenditures are ranked 49th. Shifting pension obligations from the state to local school districts is just the transfer of an expense from the state to the local school district without considering follow on order of effects. Where will the local school districts receive the money to cover pensions? School districts receive their money from property taxes, so if you do not want your property taxes to drastically increase, the shifting of pension obligations to the local school districts is not a good idea.

✓ Taxes: I do agree with capping current property tax rates and developing other methods of generating income to offset the requirement of raising property taxes in the future.

Taxes: (Information & Knowledge) – Many talks about taxes have occurred over a period of years but it is a continual topic of discussion. Taken from the Illinois Department of Revenue PIO-16 (R-03/16), “In fact, until the depression of the 1930s, property tax was the main source of funding for state government. Today, however, only local governments levy and collect property tax.” Most state income comes from Income Tax, Sales Tax and Federal Aid while property tax is most effected by county officials. Voters must look at the elected officials who have been in office for the last many years and vote for change at the county level for property tax. A state legislator that doesn’t have all the facts and is not up to date on all the requirements of local municipalities, who attempts to enact legislation which limits lower level elected officials from doing their job, is not acting in the best interest of the community. I do agree with capping current property tax rates and developing other methods of generating income to offset the requirement of raising property taxes in the future.

✓ Term Limits: I support legislator leadership term limits.

I support legislator leadership term limits. Unless a person is appointed to an office and/or is in a district in which there is no challenger, running a campaign is very difficult. If the political system changed where it would attract the best people to run, term limits may not be required; until then, term limits should be created.

✓ Women’s Rights: I am committed to protection of woman’s rights.

I am committed to protection of woman’s rights. Women must be treated equally in the workplace and have the personal right to make her own choice about health and well-being. I believe a legislator represents all people within the district and in doing so, must remove themselves from their independent thought and that of respective religious beliefs and afford the opportunity for all individuals and groups to exercise their rights. Whichever decision is made by a woman and/or couple, with the help of family, church and the many other support groups, I believe it is the responsibility of the state to ensure a safe, and clean environment in which to support a decision and allow all people to exercise their individual rights.