Size, Scope, and Role of Government
Budget and Economy
While in many ways Illinois has been a leader in civil rights, there is much room for improvement.
Illinois has the chance to enact historic civil rights protections through reforming the justice system. I am fully supportive of increasing the rights of the accused. It’s clear that if half of the Bill of Rights pertains to the rights of criminals and defendants, that our founding fathers were greatly concerned with the rights of those accused of breaking the law.
Against Gun Control
Size, Scope, and Role of Government
Philosopher Henry David Thoreau famously said, “That government is best which governs least.” Illinois is a shining example of why Thoreau was right. For decades, the Illinois state government has delivered underfunded departments and undeliverable pension promises. Out of 50 states, Illinois ranks 21st in education, 41st in economy, and 50th in fiscal stability. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Debt and deficits are the norm. Our state government is overextended and we continue to pay the price.
Illinoisans deserve better. I believe that many functions of the government as well as individual budget line items could be eliminated. If elected to office, I will push for a re-evaluation of what state government should take on and which items could be phased out or better provided by the private sector. I will work to see redundant departments and agencies consolidated and education returned to the local level.
Article 2 Section 2 of the Illinois State Constitution reads “The enumeration in this Constitution of specified powers and functions shall not be construed as a limitation of powers of state government.” Anyone can think of one Governor, or legislator, or law, regulation, tax, or fee that has made their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness more difficult. Most people can think of many. It’s easy to want those in power whom we support to have an easy time of getting their way, but when it’s someone we oppose, then obstruction is a welcome friend. This line in our state constitution is dangerous to liberty, and demonstrative of the average politicians attitude toward power over their fellow man.
For this reason, the state’s powers should be clearly defined. When we allow those we support to have unlimited power to create new legislation, we are allowing those we oppose the same. I believe that Article 2, Section 2 should be deleted, and replaced with a specific language that explicitly states exactly which powers the state government has, much like the Constitution of the United States of America.
The political stranglehold of our economy has created mass poverty. Regulatory burden of private charity further harms the most vulnerable members of society. Easing regulation would ease many from poverty, and those remaining below the poverty line could receive aid without jumping through the bureaucratic hoops that the state imposes.
A return to Constitutional governance is in order if our state is to survive.
Budget and Economy
With nearly $140 billion in unfunded pension liability, and growing, the most pressing budget issue in Illinois is our pension crisis. Public sector employees are being handed empty promises in return for their years of dedicated service. Meanwhile, Illinois’ politicians leave the taxpayer with the burden of covering the deficit. This issue must absolutely be addressed now.
The state has a contractual obligation to pay current employees what they’ve been promised. However, these pension plans have proven untenable. New public sector employees must be required to pay into their own retirement, just as private sector employees do.
If elected, I will work with other state legislators to create a plan more in line with an IRA or 401k for new public sector employees, allowing existing employees to buy out their pensions at a reduced rate of 60%, if they so choose.
With a deficit of over $3 billion, and $203 billion in debt, Illinoisans are in trouble. Our government spends too much money on itself.
As Illinois is one of the highest taxed states in the union, and as this has contributed to the exodus of tens of thousands of individuals and jobs, it is clear that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem. If legislators don’t act now to reign in on these deficits and debt, future generations will be burdened by excessive taxation and fees for decades to come.
If elected, I will sponsor legislation to consolidate and eliminate redundant government agencies and programs. I will also work to reduce government salaries, in order to reign in on spending. These are the two easiest ways that the deficit can be eliminated and the debt can start going down, rather than up.
As a Libertarian, I do believe that the government has a valid role in protecting it’s citizens from unsafe workplace conditions and products, and fraudulent business practices.
Regulations that ensure that if the gas meter at the pump reads one gallon, that you’ve gotten one gallon of gas, or ones that ensure that our food and consumer goods are safe to consume or use are fine.
But regulations that hinder economic competition and entrepreneurship are not only unnecessary, but harmful to the economy and job growth.
I would propose or support any legislation that scales back on occupational licensing requirements, prohibitions and burdens on entryism to the market, and unfair regulations that hinder or prohibit competition and allow monopolies to exist.
When possible, environmental regulations should be replaced with a system where citizens affected by poor business practices can directly sue businesses, either individually or in the form of a class action lawsuit. This takes power away from the lobbyists and gives citizens a direct line to justice.
Many well-intentioned regulations harm the poor and stifle the economy. If elected, I will sponsor legislation that scales back on occupational licensing requirements, prohibitions, burdens on entry to the market, and unfair regulations that hinder or prohibit competition and allow monopolies to exist.
Since 1985, Illinois has paid an average of nearly $143 million in corporate subsidies annually. Meanwhile, Illinois owes more than $14 BILLION in unpaid bills to vendors. These vendors are businesses, contractors, and nonprofit organizations who provide everything from office and janitorial supplies to charity work to medical supplies to the state government.
A state that can’t even afford to pay its own bills has no business giving your tax dollars to large corporations, and as such, all corporate subsidies should be ended immediately and permanently.
Intelligent Spending Cuts
If we are to balance the budget, wasteful spending must not only be addressed, but eliminated.
In 2018, Illinois Policy, a nonpartisan think tank dedicated to studying and reporting on the economic impact of Illinois politics, identified $57 billion in spending for pork barrel projects for the fiscal year. I would propose or support legislation that disallows legislators from sending tax dollars into their own districts for programs or projects that aren’t specifically allowed by the Illinois State Constitution and only serve a local or special interest.
Furthermore, administrational costs must be reduced across the board for every single government agency and department in the state. Illinois has over 260,000 government employees at the State level. Almost 65,000 of these employees make over $100k per year. With the median wage in Illinois being less than $35k, something is glaringly wrong with this picture. State government salaries must be capped. Incentives must be provided to agencies and departments for coming in under budget year after year, and those who cannot should be required to make cuts to their administrational costs, and not to services provided.
Occupational Licensing Reform
Restaurant employees are required to hold between one and four different licenses, depending on their position. Hair braiders require more training than law enforcement officers. To tan or dye fur, a skill so primitive that one wouldn’t think it has a place in today’s economy, requires a license from the state of Illinois. These are just a few of the many absurd examples of occupational licensing requirements the state of Illinois imposes.
Far too many of our occupational licenses serve no purpose other than raising revenue for the state. It is severely unjust to charge someone to work for a living, making them jump through bureaucratic hoops just because the state cannot manage it’s money properly.
I would propose or support any legislation that encourages the use of private sector licensing or converting already existing state licensing to private sector licensing.
Furthermore, I would propose or support legislation that dictates that the General Assembly must review all state occupational licensing requirements annually, and make intelligent votes to which should be kept, replaced, or eliminated.
Finally, Illinois should recognize licensing provided by other states for new residents. There is no reason to make a cosmetologist, lawyer, nurse, or welder pay a fee and jump through hoops simply because they attended college in a different state before moving here.
My “Charitable Deductions” Plan
All charitable donations should be considered dollar for dollar tax deductions rather than deductions to taxable income. This creates an immediate incentive for the wealthy to use expendable income to donate to those in need.
Money donated in this way should also be deducted from the next annual budget proposed by the General Assembly. If a philanthropist donates a dollar to education, the Illinois Department of Education automatically receives one dollar less next year.
This, combined with the aforementioned plan to reduce administrative costs, will ensure that the government operates on a shoestring budget that keeps taxes low while without leaving departments underfunded or cutting services.
Criminal Justice Reform
While in many ways Illinois has been a leader in civil rights, there is much room for improvement.
The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments in the Bill of Rights all pertain to those who have been accused or convicted of a crime. It’s clear that if half of the Bill of Rights pertains to the rights of criminals and defendants, that our founding fathers were greatly concerned with the rights of those accused of breaking the law.
While I have no sympathy for violent or fraudulent individuals, I believe that punishment for non-violent, victimless crime should be minimal. If elected, I will be a vocal advocate for abolishing all mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes.
First time drug offenders should be treated for addiction rather than jailed. We should look at Portugal’s radical, yet successful drug decriminalization plan and use it as a model in Illinois.
Illinois made a great step toward real drug law reform after legalizing the virtually harmless drug, cannabis; however, this law doesn’t go far enough. It was passed as a source of revenue for a failing state. As such, it was not treated as a measure to keep users of a natural and harmless substance out of prison cells. Marijuana drug laws have been seen as an injustice for decades, and the new law does nothing to address the core of this issue.
The pathway into the legal market is so strict, that there is no incentive for back alley cannabis dealers to cease operations. There is no evidence to suggest that the black cannabis markets have been reduced to any meaningful degree. However, actors in these still illegal markets remain subject to prosecution for the possession, manufacture, or trafficking of this substance.
Cannabis should be regulated similarly to beer and wine. It is legal to sell beer and wine at convenience stores and grocery stores, to produce personal amounts in your own home. If elected, I will fight to make cannabis as legal as beer and wine.
Psilocybin has been considered a Schedule I drug since the early 70’s by the federal government. Schedule I is reserved for substances with no medicinal value, and high potential for addiction.
Much like cannabis, psilocybin mushrooms have undeniable medicinal value. While psilocybin tends to be more acknowledged for its recreational benefits than its medicinal ones, this is hardly an excuse to imprison users alongside actual criminals. Studies show that psilocybin is non-addictive, and can be used to treat tobacco and alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, cluster headaches, OCD, and PTSD. To have it scheduled in the same category as heroin is folly.
For thousands of years, humans worldwide have used psilocybin for medicine and cultural traditions. Cultures have learned to treat psilocybin with both respect and caution.
The manufacture and sale of this substance should be taken out of the black market, and turned over to scientists and knowledgeable retailers as the city of Denver has, and as we have with cannabis. If elected, I will work to see psilocybin fully decriminalized. I would also support legislation that legalizes medicinal psilocybin, as a good first step.
Civil Asset Forfeiture
Civil asset forfeiture is a violation of the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and oftentimes Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, as the burden of proof is on the accuser in the American Justice System, reasonable proof that any assets seized from individuals were obtained through illegal means must be provided in court.
If elected, I will sponsor legislation that requires law enforcement officers to charge individuals with a crime before seizing any assets.
Illinois is one of the worst states for law abiding gun owners. Strict gun control measures have done nothing to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. Chicago and East Saint Louis are case in point. Unconstitutional laws that deter law abiding citizens from defending their homes and families from criminals should be eliminated.
In an ideal world, Illinois would end the FOID. Illinois is the only state that requires a separate ID for gun ownership. If the other 49 states can survive without one, we can too. However, the political climate in Illinois would admittedly prove such legislation difficult to pass.
FOID cards should not expire, nor cost beyond their printing costs. We should not be required to purchase our Second Amendment rights from the government.
Under my plan, FOID card holders would not be subjected to a waiting period for firearms purchases, so long as they already possess at least one firearm. If someone already owns a gun, a waiting period for a new one is completely useless. Anyone who elects not to get a FOID card will still be subject to the 24 hour waiting period.
Between the license and the required classes, the right to carry a firearm costs individuals $250 every five years. Again, we should not be required to purchase our constitutional rights from the government.
If elected, I will sponsor legislation that repeals the concealed carry card and replaces it with universal constitutional carry.
Everyone has seen an action movie where the bad guy uses a suppressed firearm on an unsuspecting victim. It’s an exciting image, but the truth is that these movies are unrealistic. Politicians with no real knowledge of firearm use and safety have been running amok in our capitol.
A suppressed firearm is still quite loud, but they are much safer on the ears and they don’t bother others as much as an unsuppressed firearm. Suppressors are tools with a useful purpose, and should not be illegal.
If elected, I will sponsor legislation to remove bans on suppressors.
Illinois’ 115th District State House