Darren on the Issues
As a person of faith, I am strongly opposed to abortion. It is my belief we have a responsibility as a community to stand up for the lives of unborn children.
I was extremely disappointed in the Legislature approving and the Governor signing a measure (HB 40) into law to allow for state funding of abortions for any reason. We have to make sure taxpayers do not have to violate their consciences by indirectly paying for abortions.
I will stand up for the rights of unborn children if elected to the Illinois State Senate, and am proud to have received the endorsement of the Illinois Family Action Group, who champions for Pro-Life & Pro-Family issues in Illinois.
2nd Amendment Rights
I am a strong supporter of our 2nd Amendment rights, which are increasingly coming under fire. I am a card carrying member of the NRA, who actually hunts & shoots. Democrat legislators from Chicago continually introduce legislation to take away our Second Amendment rights.
It is important for legislators who support the 2nd Amendment to not only vote the right way when it comes to preserving our rights but to also educate 2nd Amendment opponents about the importance of the 2nd Amendment. My commitment is not only to cast votes in support of the 2nd Amendment but to get to know the opposition and show them the truth about gun owners throughout our state, and advocate for their rights.
We cannot lower our guard when it comes to the 2nd Amendment because our Constitutional rights are constantly under assault. I will be a strong advocate for our right to bear arms.
Education funding in Illinois has been a problem for a long time because of over reliance on local property taxes to fund schools. The disparity in local tax receipts has created a funding gap where some schools are extremely well-funded, and others are not.
Lawmakers approved legislation in Senate Bill 1947 that provided new changes to the school funding formula. The intent was to send more money to poor and struggling districts around the state, provide relief to Chicago for its legacy teacher pension debt and future pension payments, as well as provide a $75 million tax credit scholarship program.
Initially, Senate Bill 1947 looked like a good starting point, but upon further review it is a bad deal for our area. It is nothing more than a bailout for Chicago schools and is a pathway to even more spending for Chicago schools. The Chicago lobbyists and Illinois State Board of Education Chief Tony Smith now claim the state “needs” a $7.2 billion income tax increase to fund their new schools plan. That’s another $1,500 per year, per Illinois household.
This money would, in part, cover a small down payment on the state bailout of CPS, which has run $1 billion operating deficits in each of the past seven years and is currently insolvent, owing more than $17 billion in debt.
Instead of bailouts, we need REAL reforms. Education in Illinois faces many challenges. For one thing, Illinois has too many school districts – more than 850. By comparison Florida only has 70 School Districts.
As we move forward, we must find ways to reduce administrative costs in Illinois schools. Cutting the number of Illinois school districts in half, would save Illinois schools nearly $130 million to $170 million annually, and could conservatively save the state $3 billion to $4 billion in pension costs over the next 30 years.
A report from US News and World Report ranks the Illinois economy #44 in the nation. A state that is located in the center of the United States should be doing better.
In a 2017 report from Chief Executive Magazine, Illinois was ranked the third worst state in the nation for business. In the report, one CEO noted, “Illinois is becoming a worse state to do business in all the time. Other businesses are leaving Illinois, which affects our customer base.”
In 2016, Illinois lost more residents than any other state. What Illinois needs is more jobs. As your state senator, I will fight for common-sense economic policies that will help create jobs in Illinois. It is time for the Legislature to make our state more attractive to prospective employers.
Transparency & Term Limits
My pledge to residents of the 55th District is that I will refuse the legislative pension. I believe legislators need to lead by example. It would be disingenuous of me to advocate for reduced spending while at the same time standing in line for a legislative pension. As your voice in Springfield, I intend to lead by example by refusing the legislative pension benefits.
In addition, I support efforts to draw a fair legislative map. The gerrymandered districts in Illinois have not served the people well. It is time we had an independent commission draw a fair map that is based on what is best for our communities instead of what is best for a particular political party. We need to take the politics out of the legislative redistricting process.
Finally, I strongly support & will advocate for term limits. A big part of the problem in Springfield is the fact that system has been co-opted by career politicians who have rigged the system in their favor. We need term limits to get Career Politicians like Mike Madigan out of office. Unfortunately, the people with the most to lose are the same people opposing term limits. Career Politicians put their needs in front of the needs of their constituents. Term limits are the only way to prevent this. It is time to drain the swamp in Springfield. It is time for term limits.
Illinois residents have some of the highest tax burdens of any state in the nation.
In fact, Illinois according to the Tax Foundation, has the second highest property taxes in the country. Many people are leaving Illinois as result of the high taxes. The number one state in the nation for people leaving in 2016? Illinois.
We need to act quickly to reduce property taxes in Illinois. One of the best places to start is for the Legislature to form a property tax task force to come up with serious property tax reductions proposals that would have a realistic chance of becoming law. We should not settle for a piecemeal solution to skyrocketing property taxes. We need a comprehensive solution and we need it sooner rather later.
Illinois has the highest combination of state and local taxes in the country. This was true before the Illinois Legislature voted to increase state income taxes by 32%.
The reality is the tax hike is costing us jobs and opportunities. In August alone, Illinois lost 3,000 manufacturing jobs. While others state’s economies are growing – Illinois is lagging behind and losing jobs. We are all paying the price for the mismanagement and overspending in Springfield.
On average, taxpaying families in Flora will have to find $440 extra to fund government largess; in Fairfield, the average is $493, in Lawrenceville it is $521, in Newton $545, and in Olney, it is $477.
Raising taxes is not the solution Illinois needs. We need to grow our economy by implementing business-friendly policies to attract more jobs and opportunities. Raising taxes is only serving to hurt our economy and make it more difficult for Illinois to compete.