Jeanne Ives, GOP gubernatorial candidate
Name: Jeanne Ives
Office seeking: Governor
City of residence: Wheaton
Campaign website: ivesforillinois.com
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? I am running for Governor because, as a mother of five, I believe all families deserve leaders who are willing to fight for them to own a home in a safe community, to have access to quality schools, to be able to count on basic human services when they are in need, and to have the opportunity to build their lives and pursue happiness in Illinois.
Illinoisans have lost confidence in their political leaders. And why wouldn’t they, when the “Reformer” they elected in 2014 tells them, “I’m not in charge.”
As governor, I will lead the charge. Illinoisans are hungry for a leader who has the political will and policy insight to lead on difficult issues, as well as the courage to tackle the state’s numerous crises. Anyone who has seen me defend ordinary Illinoisans’ interests on the House floor or tracked my votes knows I don’t back down and can’t be backed into a corner.
I will speak honestly about the severity of the crises the state faces. Illinoisans don’t need platitudes or vague promises. They need someone actually willing to pursue solutions. And they need a governor who won’t betray them for political gain.
I have stood up against special interests and sham bills that don’t solve our problems. I’ve been ridiculed by the political class for asking impolite, but necessary, questions to reveal the shortsightedness of legislation. I have a five-year record of advancing important reform legislation and standing up for taxpayers.
Illinoisans also need a governor who truly and deeply understands the issues. Some call me a policy wonk – as if that’s something negative – but that’s what this state desperately requires.
Illinoisans need a governor who is in charge - one who offers a plan and a vision for Illinois.
What is the most important issue facing the state? How would you approach it? The biggest challenge we face is that Illinoisans no longer see a bright future for themselves or their families here. To begin with, it’s become too expensive to live in Illinois. Many Illinoisans are now paying property tax bills that are bigger than their mortgage payments. Others are being squeezed out of their homes. A 2016 poll by the Paul Simon Institute found that nearly half of Illinois voters wanted to leave the state. Their most pressing reason: taxes.
People also can’t find enough good paying jobs. The state has lost over 300,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. Disappearing working- and middle-class jobs means too many people can’t afford a down payment on a home, provide for a college education or save for retirement. Other families, struggling with incomes that haven’t kept up with inflation, simply can’t make ends meet.
And too many of Illinois’ governments are corrupt. Illinoisans have lost faith in their leaders – they are too self-serving and too wedded to special interests to care about the residents they are supposed to serve.
There is no bigger indictment of the failures and betrayals of the political ruling class in Chicago and in Illinois than the fact that half the people here say they want to leave and 85 percent-plus say Illinois is headed in the wrong direction.
We either get serious about structural reform or we will feed the fatalism that quickens Illinois' economic death spiral as more businesses and families depart. Those advocating ever bigger government at ever greater expense – in both parties – have had the run of Chicago for 100 years and the run of state government for at least the past 50. How's it going?
It is time to completely rethink, re-engineer and reintroduce a state government that keeps its promises, balances its books, focuses on its core responsibilities and provides necessary services to those most in need.
Illinoisans have a choice. They can stick with the same politics that’s failed them again and again. Or they can make a change. I represent that change. I’ll be a champion for Illinoisans and their communities.
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 strongly and unequivocally oppose the 32 percent income tax increase. Illinoisans already pay some of the highest combined state and local tax burdens in the country.
The many failed policies of this state, high taxes among them, have already led to a major erosion of our tax base. More than 600,000 net Illinoisans have fled to other states since 2010, according to the IRS.
The IRS data also shows that Illinois is bleeding its more-productive residents. The incomes of those that left the state in 2014 were, on average, $20,000 higher compared to those coming into the state. Chicago topped the list of U.S. cities that millionaires are fleeing.
Furthermore, Illinois has a higher property tax burden than every other state with no income tax. That implies our government costs are the problem and not our income tax structure.
Illinois’ flat and relatively low income tax structure is the one bright spot in a terribly burdensome tax code. Illinois needs to welcome its entrepreneurs, small business owners and job creators, not punish them even more.
I will work to roll back the recent tax hike by bringing the cost of government in line with what taxpayers can afford. As governor, I will roll out the below reforms over a four-year period:
- Reduce the size of state subsidies by gradually phasing out revenue-sharing agreements such as the Local Government Distributive Fund.
- Return the annual cost of pensions back to school districts and universities.
- Reform Medicaid and increase program efficiency through more frequent eligibility checks, authorize more competitive bidding and lower drug costs through greater volume purchases.
- Reduce appropriations to higher education to force universities to make cuts to their bloated administrations.
- Reform Illinois’ convoluted, bureaucratic procurement process to streamline and save on purchases.
- Renegotiate state worker contracts so workers pick up a greater share of their annual health care costs.
Illinois is still running a deficit budget. How should it be balanced? If cuts should be made, what programming cuts should be considered? My first challenge as governor will be to bring the existing budget back in line with what Illinoisans can afford. There is nothing moral, compassionate or enlightened about making spending commitments you cannot finance. In fact, it is malicious when politicians promise constituencies, like our social service providers, resources they don't or can't provide. That creates a reliance from which those constituencies cannot recover when the promises are unfulfilled – or effectively unfulfilled through interminable delays.
To that end, my first proposed budget will contain enough reforms and spending reductions to balance the budget and still leave some revenues to help pay down the state’s bill backlog. Please see above for my proposed reforms.
In addition, I’ll push for a TABOR law in Illinois to cap annual state spending growth at no more than the rate of inflation + population growth. If we stop digging, we can climb out by paying down our obligations.
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? Despite a considerable money disadvantage in the Governor’s race, I do not believe in public funding of elections. Giving to political campaigns and causes is, and should remain, free-expression. Money isn’t everything, either. Often candidates who self-fund do not win. In my own race, for example, I only need a threshold amount of money to get my message out and let people know who I am in order to win. However, I do support other methods of holding officials accountable. I support term limits for all elected officials and I am also in favor of an independent electoral maps commission.