NAME: Jay C. Hoffman
IMMEDIATE FAMILY: Wife: Laurie; Daughters: Emily Stigler and Katelyn Hoffman
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OFFICE SOUGHT: General Assembly 113th District
PREVIOUS ELECTED POSITIONS: General Assembly 112th District: 1991 to January 1997; October 1997 to January 2011. General Assembly 113th District: 2013 - present.
Q. Why are you running?
A. I want to give back to my community in a way that provides a Metro East for residents to live, work, play, receive a quality education and raise a family. Serving as State Representative allows me the opportunity to make a difference. I have worked hard on projects in the Metro East bringing critical funding and creating jobs in the area. I have and will continue to fight for the school districts in the Metro East to ensure fair funding treatment in comparison to schools districts in the rest of the state. I continue to work with municipalities and organizations to fund and strengthen public transportation, infrastructure and parks. My leadership and experience allows me to work effectively for my district. I have continually worked across party lines to provide opportunities for our state.
Q. The state recently passed a stopgap budget, but a long-term solution to budget issues has evaded the General Assembly and governor’s office. How should the state solve its budget issues?
A. It's time our leaders make tough decisions to get our fiscal house in order without decimating the middle class. Illinois needs to cut state spending. Instead of cutting education, public safety and other essential services, we need to close corporate tax loopholes and increase tax rates on multi-millionaires. To accomplish this it is imperative to put partisanship aside and work across party lines to solve our budget crisis. It is time that all parties affected by our unfunded pension system reach a consensus on how to stabilize the system and reduce the burden on taxpayers.
Q. Should the state raise income taxes, other taxes or fees, in order fix the budget issues? Why or why not?
A. The state must live within its means and taxes should not be increased. Illinois needs a long-term plan that will get our fiscal house in order. There is an inherent unfairness in the current Illinois tax structure from the income tax, sales and property taxes. I want to work with individuals and businesses to provide a more equitable tax system. In addition, Illinois needs to close corporate tax loopholes and increase tax rates on multi-millionaires.
Q. How can Illinois grow its economy?
A. Illinois needs to create jobs, provide incentives for businesses to build and create jobs in the Metro East and strengthen our infrastructure. As a State Legislator, I worked hard and fought for projects in the Metro East that strengthened infrastructure and created jobs with the construction of the new Mississippi River Bridge, widening of routes 159 and 157, Metro Link funding, widening of I-64, I-255 extension and the State Police Forensics lab in Belleville. Additionally, Illinois needs to take a stand against companies moving jobs overseas and purchasing products which are not made in the United States. I believe in working alongside business and organized labor to protect jobs for the middle class. I was recently a sponsor of a resolution demanding the President and Congress protect the U.S. steel industry by stopping China from dumping cheap steel.
Q. How should the state solve its pension crisis?
A. We must ensure the solvency of the state pension system. Whether you are a current employee, retired employee or a taxpayer this is a priority. It is in everyone's best interest to solve this difficult problem. In 1995, I voted in favor of mandating the state pay back its unfunded liabilities to the pension system. We should not and cannot continue to ignore this obligation. It is time this administration takes the lead and convenes all interested parties to reach a consensus on this matter. However, one thing that cannot happen is simply passing the state's obligations to fund the system to local taxpayers.
Q. How should the state approach funding of public education? Is the system broken? If so, how you would fix it?
A. I believe funding for education should be equitably distributed to schools districts. The school funding formula is extremely complicated and there are several groups and organizations that are working to provide a more equitable funding mechanism. I will continue to work with those groups to ensure that our school districts are treated fairly in comparison to school districts in the rest of the state.