- Position sought: State Representative – 82nd House District
- Email address: email@example.com
Citizens for Durkin
PO Box 367
Western Springs, IL 60558
1011 State Street
Lemont, IL 60439
- Website: www.jimdurkin.com
- Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150166608450485#!/repjimdurkin
- Family: Married (wife, Celeste), daughter, three stepdaughters
- Education: B.S., Illinois State University; J.D., John Marshall Law School
- Occupation: Attorney
- Political party: Republican
- Previous elected or appointed offices: Triton College Board of Trustees 1992-1996; Illinois State Representative 1995-2002; Illinois State Representative 2006 – Present; former Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney; former Assistant Illinois Attorney General
- Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position? John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees; Chicago Bar Association Board of Managers; Misericordia Board of Advisors; Giant Steps Autism School Board of Advisors; Illinois House of Representatives Diabetes Caucus
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
As state representative, I have had the privilege to serve the residents of the 82nd District with a strong focus on ensuring a safe community, quality education and reliable transportation. In addition, I am leading the effort in repealing the 2011 “Lame-Duck” corporate and the individual tax increase passed by the majority party last January. That tax increase has had a devastating impact on hard working families and job-creating small businesses. Like families across the country are doing, state government must learn to get by with less.
I have several priorities to restore growth, opportunity and confidence in Illinois. We must: reduce taxes; significantly reduce government spending; investigate fraud and abuse in Medicaid; pass meaningful pension reform NOT at the taxpayer’s expense; and limit the excessive regulations on Illinois businesses. This is the path toward fiscal stability and integrity in state government, and it is also my pledge.
Our businesses need the environment to start, stay and grow in Illinois and our families deserve accountability in the people that they elect.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I sponsored and passed major reforms for the criminal justice system at a time when 13 death penalty convictions were reversed. These convictions cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars through civil rights lawsuits. Also, I was the ranking Republican in the Illinois House of Representatives Impeachment Committee for Rod Blagojevich and I was responsible for forcing Roland Burris to testify before the committee. I also lead the questioning of Burris. Roland Burris’ public career was effectively finished after his testimony.
I introduced and passed reforms to the legislative member initiative process by prohibiting “block grants” and pushing for greater transparency in the distribution of these initiatives. I also fought to change the compensation review system for legislators and judges by introducing legislation that requires an affirmative vote by both chambers for pay increases. While that legislation failed to pass, I strongly believe my efforts in that process ultimately lead to the elimination of the compensation review board.
I am the assistant minority leader in the Illinois House of Representatives and was the 2002 Republican Nominee for U.S. Senate.
Official name of your campaign committee
Citizens for Jim Durkin
What should first be done by the state to keep businesses that have strongly voiced the possibility of leaving, such as CME and Sears?
The tax breaks extended by the State of Illinois are the by-product of years of misguided fiscal policies .The State of Illinois must reform the rules, regulations and tax structure for large and small businesses. I voted against the 2011 lame-duck session tax increases because businesses and their employee’s inevitably will relocate to a more favorable business climate. However, we cannot ignore the consequences of doing nothing, therefore, I would support tax breaks to keep businesses in the state. The corporate tax increase must be reconsidered to stop this dangerous precedent. I voted “present” on the Sears/CME legislation due to a conflict.
For our district specifically, some options to help the economy include working closely with local employers and the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to identify existing programs and grants; and coordinating with local economic development groups to determine their needs. Illinois must remain competitive with the rest of the Midwest by continuing reforms to our work comp system and by reforming the business taxes and regulatory hurdles facing large and small employers.
What can be done to help College Illinois?
I have taken the lead on this very important issue that stands to impact more than 55,000 Illinois families. On Feb. 15, I filed several pieces of legislation to assist in the recovery of the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program. The legislation will bring more transparency to the program and ensure investments are being used as intended, to help families pay for a college education.
Here are the provisions of my legislative proposal:
a. House Bill 5599 would require ISAC managers of College Illinois! funds to abide by the same standards that are now imposed upon managers of federally regulated 401(k) plans. These standards include the transmission of unsolicited annual reports to investors, so they know how their money is being handled.
b. House Bill 5601 bans the use of College Illinois! money from being taken out of the investment fund to pay the salaries or benefits of Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) personnel associated with College Illinois! management and oversight, and instead directs future General Assemblies to appropriate money from General Revenue Funds to pay these expenses.
c. House Bill 5600 prohibits the use of College Illinois! funds for Administrative and Management costs associated with the program or the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Prohibits any expenses associated with marketing, advertising, or promotion of College Illinois! from being paid from the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund.
d. House Bill 5598 places the Illinois Student Assistance Commission including College Illinois! under the Governmental Ethics Act requiring members of the investment advisory panel to submit a written statement of economic interest annually available for public review at the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
These bills will allow ISAC to function in the same manner as other state agencies. It also ensures that the hard-earned money invested by families will be used to pay for students’ college education.
For full disclosure, I am a College Illinois! contract holder.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
Business leaders and entrepreneurs look to low costs and stability when they are deciding where to locate. The recent downgrade by Moody’s has soured many businesses. This downgrade was greatly the result of our unresolved pension problem. We are not going to make Illinois a good business state unless we make meaningful and substantial changes to our public pension system. This problem is affecting our ability to retain and recruit business.
Job creation and fiscal stability could be obtained through the permanency of the Research and Development Tax Credit; continued reforms of our worker’s compensation system that addresses “causation;” repealing the corporate tax increase; and continuing reforms to reduce fraud in Medicaid.
Pension reform is related to collective bargaining, and changes to the current public employees’ plan must occur this session. I believe state employee pay raises that exceed the cost of living should require approval of the legislature and not be left at the bargaining table.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
I do not support gay marriage. I am pro-life.
Do support a gaming bill that would increase the number of casinos or other gambling venues in Illinois? Should a casino be built in Chicago?
Illinois already has 10 casinos, horse racing, off track betting and soon video poker. The market for gaming is saturated; any new casinos will not provide new revenue but just cannibalize existing revenue among more sources. I voted “no” on both measures that were debated in the House in 2011. I cannot envision a gaming expansion bill that I could support.
What do you suggest for property tax relief?
Just like families across the country are doing, state and local governments need to get by with less. Home values continue to decline while taxes increase. It is fiscally irresponsible to take more out of residents’ pockets to pay for the excesses of government.
I will not support any increase in taxes or change in the tax policy until the majority party shows they are committed to cutting spending and policy reform.
I voted NO on the 2011 lame duck session corporate/individual tax increase. I am leading the effort in its repeal.
Illinois can balance the budget and create revenue by fostering and promoting job growth. The increased jobs will increase state revenue without raising taxes.
Should the state consider consolidating school districts? What would be the best way to accomplish this in your legislative district?
I believe in addressing school district consolidation through a voter referendum to see if the local voters support the initiative. There are many school districts in Illinois that have only one or two schools districts and it would make sense that they are consolidated with other districts to take advantage of the cost savings.
Should the state legalize marijuana?
Are there ways to reform the legislative scholarship program, or would you support calls to eliminate the program?
The legislative scholarship program should be eliminated. I have voted for its elimination in previous sessions and I have voluntarily discontinued this program in the 82nd district.
Who are your political heroes and why?
Ronald Reagan and John McCain for their courage, compassion, integrity, and the place they hold in history and American politics.