Name: Laura A. Myers
Office seeking: State Representative 107th House District
City of residence: Greenville
Campaign website: www.citizens4myers.com
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? Our state is in terrible shape, and I believe I can be a major contributor to the solution. I work for the Illinois Department of Corrections and have a solid understanding about the business practices by the agencies. I earned an associates degree in Accounting from Kaskaskia College, Bachelors degree in Human Resource Management, and a Masters degree in Business Administration. I believe that my experience and education will be an asset to the taxpayers of the 107th District and all of Southern Illinois.
What is the most important issue facing the state? How would you approach it? Governmental Waste. When I think of governmental waste, three major themes immediately come to mind: Paper, processes, and IL Department of Central Management Services. Paper is a major expense for the state. Sometimes paper is necessary, however, many times it is not. In state government, many reports are printed daily. Then there are monthly reports that are printed. I know what we printed in our agency, I can’t imagine if we stacked the paper of each agency on top of the other, how tall the stack would be! Keep in mind these reports are kept and stored for several years. Not only do we as taxpayers have the cost of the paper, but we have to pay for that storage as well. Wouldn’t it make sense to bring Illinois into the 21st century and store these files electronically? Just think of all the trees we could save which equates to more oxygen in our atmosphere. Not only do we have to be good stewards of our tax dollars, but also to our environment. We have a lot of waste in processes. If we would refine our processes then we could save time that can be redirected to providing service to clients, whether the taxpayer or other agency employees. To cut waste in process, we first need to see what is required, whether by Administrative Directive or by Illinois Compiled Statute. Administrative Directives are agency rules. If the procedure is required by Administrative Directive only, then it is a pretty easy fix. However, sometimes Administrative Directives are derived from the statutes, which is not an easy fix. This is how we get to the term big government. Talking about big government leads us to the last theme and the largest: Illinois Department of Central Management Services. This agency is the agency of all agencies. They seized the assets of all of the agencies, after the agencies had purchased the assets. They charge the agency for each keystroke on the computers, charge agencies to lease equipment, and charge a 10 percent markup on vehicle repairs. For example, if Vandalia Correctional Center needs $500 worth of new tires on one of their vehicles, the invoice will have the $500 tires, plus the markup of $50, for a total of $550. Just think of all the state vehicles out there in every agency… This state is a mess, that is no secret. However, I believe it is going to take people who have worked in or retired from this mess to straighten it out. State employees know where the waste is and how to address it.
The state's income tax was increased to 4.95 percent in 2017. Would you try to roll it back? Why or why not? And if so, how would you roll it back? I would roll back the tax increase because the people of Southern Illinois are taxed far too much. Taxes as a whole are causing our residents to leave at a very rapid pace. I would work with my colleagues to step it down over two years. Of course, it would be best to immediately roll it back, however, I believe that a two year step roll back could be worked out in a compromise with Democrats.
Illinois is still running a budget deficit. How should it be balanced? If cuts should be made, what programming cuts should be considered? First of all, we need to have a 5 percent cut on all programs each year for two years. We also need to address the waste in state government, especially the waste created by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.
Campaign funding has been an issue in the last few months. Should there be changes in the state's campaign finance rules? Why or why not? If so, what changes would you want to see? First and foremost, the campaign funding rules need simplified to make it easier for regular, everyday folks to run for office. We have gotten away from what our Founding Fathers intended for when they created our country. Perhaps it would also be best suited to cap the amount that can be spent in an election rather than the amount that can be collected.