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Issues

Positioning Illinois for Success

My first priority is listening to the concerns of people in the 54th District. As I share my initial positions on the issues noted below, I also welcome your concerns on any issues, as well as your feedback on my positions.

Please feel free to contact me using the Contact form on my website: georgebarber4il.com/contact, or continue the conversation on @GeorgeBarber4IL social media (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter).

RESTORING ILLINOIS’ FINANCIAL HEALTH

The PROBLEM

  • The current state of Illinois’ fiscal health has become intolerable.
  • Illinois ranks second to last in our nation in fiscal health.
  • The solution is NOT tax increases; it’s holding a fiscally-irresponsible government accountable for their mismanagement of state funds.
  • We have great people, we have a solid GDP (you see cranes all over Chicago), we have good workers … we simply have poor leadership.

The SOLUTION

  • DEBT AFFORDABILITY STUDY (DAS) We must initiate a debt affordability study in order to obtain crucial data required to better understand and manage our state debt, identify waste, make adjustments and start to heal. This is the centerpiece of my fiscal reform plan.
    • This DAS would help us explain why we have gone from AAA Bond ratings to B- – – over the last 20 years (according to Standard & Poors and Fitch ratings). Because of this bond rating, our state (including the University of Illinois) cannot borrow at a competitive rate.
    • This DAS is similar to a forensic audit, an examination and evaluation of a firm’s or individual’s financial information, but “debt affordability study” comes across more palatable to the ear.
    • I am working with a former Highland Park mayor, now a professor at University of Chicago, Michael Belsky, who authored a paper promoting the benefits of a DAS. Susana Mendoza, comptroller of Illinois, is the only other politician working with Mr. Belsky on this project.
    • We are one of 22 states who currently does not utilize a DAS.

“Used carefully and methodically, a debt [affordability study] can be a powerful instrument that state and local governments can use to repair vital infrastructure, improve quality of life, and drive economic growth,” said Mary Murphy, director of Pew’s state and local fiscal health project. “These affordability studies provide crucial data that help officials better understand and manage their state’s debt.” – “Pew: Report Shows Debt Affordability Studies Help States Manage Borrowing,” Pew Charitable Trusts, June 6, 2017, http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/news-room/press-releases/2017/06/pew-report-shows-debt-affordability-studies-help-states-manage-borrowing.

  • BALANCED BUDGET Our state must live within its means, spending no more than the taxes bring in. Our massive debt is not because Illinois taxed too little. The massive debt was created because Illinois spent too much.
  • ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT We must demand accountability and transparency from our government leaders. We must hold lawmakers accountable for out-of-balanced budgets, as required by our state constitution.
  • THREE-FIFTHS MAJORITY Spending beyond state revenues should only be allowed in emergency situations and should require a three-fifths majority for passage in the Senate and House. A three-fifths majority should also be required of any state tax increase.

IMAGINE the legacy we could leave our children and our grandchildren by removing their burden of our debt and leaving them in a state of health and prosperity. The responsibility for the future begins with us today.

JOB CREATION / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The PROBLEM

  • Illinois continues to struggle after the so-called “Great Recession,” which experts say ended in 2009, while the rest of the country has long enjoyed recovery.
  • People have left and are leaving Illinois for opportunity and prosperity elsewhere.

The SOLUTION

  • WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CAUSATION STANDARD: We need to make Illinois a business-friendly environment by lowering costs associated with hiring and maintaining a workforce, and reducing state regulations and fees that discourage business startups. Illinois has the 8th highest Workers’ Compensation rates among the 50 states, and we lack one key component that could make a positive difference, “causation.” Adding a causation standard would ensure employers are treated fairly and injured workers would receive the medical care they need to quickly to return to work.

IMAGINE an Illinois in step with its neighbors, Indiana and Missouri, strengthening existing businesses and welcoming new business. 

EDUCATION FUNDING

The PROBLEM

  • Reform education funding in order to remove the disparity between suburban and downstate schools.

The SOLUTION

  • ASSESSMENT: Assess the success of the “evidence-based” funding and respond appropriately.
  • SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION: Consolidation is a way to reduce taxpayer burdens (property tax) without harming the quality of education. Consolidation can eliminate duplicative costly administrative positions, reduce the number of buildings and equipment, and allow for greater savings when purchasing goods and services at a larger quantity (economy of scale).
  • ELIMINATE UNFUNDED MANDATES: Eliminate unfunded mandates, moving the decision making from Springfield back to local school districts. This will set our communities free from state mandates, empower local districts to better use the resources received from local property taxes, and reduce the pressure for higher property taxes.

IMAGINE an Illinois fueled by strong schools and districts equipped with funds and best practices.

PRO-LIFE

The PROBLEM

  • House Bill 40 requires taxpayer funding of abortions for any reason throughout the full nine months of pregnancy. It is the most devastating law against human life enacted since the 1973 Roe v Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision. It not only expands a “Culture of Death” it forces every Illinois taxpayer to become a part of institutionalized murder.

The SOLUTION

  • REPEAL HB40: Repeal HB40, passed and signed into law in 2017. Recognize the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, and protect the right to life for the unborn.

IMAGINE an Illinois in which every unborn life is valued, every story matters and everyone partners in the raising up of a new generation of Illinoisans.

I have a proven record of leadership throughout my 25 plus years of experience in teaching and coaching. I have a successful track record of raising up leaders for the next generation. I value the relationships required to successfully solve the significant problems ahead of us. And I recognize the challenge the journey to financial health presents for our state. I would be honored to walk this journey with our Illinois’ 54th District.