Three large Illinois newspapers endorse Reick
Steven Reick, the Republican candidate for the District 63 state House seat, has been endorsed by three more Illinois newspapers.
The Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Northwest Herald all chose Reick over his Democratic opponent, John Bartman.
When state Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) decided to step down after winning the Democratic primary and run for McHenry County Board chairman instead, it set up the race between Reick, a tax attorney, and Bartman, a fifth-generation farmer and former Illinois Department of Transportation employee. This is Reick's second attempt at winning the House seat. Reick ran against Franks in the 2014 election.
Reick placed property taxes, education and public pensions high on his list of issues that should be dealt with in the assembly. Part of the property tax issue is the cost of education. Without full funding and the unfunded mandates from the state, local school boards are forced to turn to property taxes to bridge the gap between expenditures and funding. Illinois homeowners pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation, second only to New Jersey.
"Reick has continued to study Illinois issues, and his election could provide more political weight for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, which has been stymied in part by the supermajority that Democrats have maintained in the House," the Northwest Herald said in its endorsement. "Reick identities education funding reform as the only significant way to provide property tax relief."
While seeking solutions to education funding, Reick suggested looking at the Nevada education savings account (ESA) program, which allows parents to select the educational program best suited for their children's needs. The funds that would normally go to a local public school are placed in an ESA account, where the parents can use them to pay for tutors, private schools, distance-learning programs or special-education needs. In this education-reform scenario, the money follows the child.
Public pension reform remains a hot topic in Springfield. The five public pension plans were underfunded by $111 billion as of December 2015. If the state had a full budget in place, approximately 24 percent would be allocated for pensions. The Tier II pension system for new employees was intended to prevent further increases, but the existing pension plans remain underfunded. Reick suggested a unique solution to the pension-funding problem that earned the Daily Herald's endorsement.
"Reick favors separating the state's hefty pension obligation from the rest of the budget and providing it a reliable funding source to pay it down," the Daily Herald said. "That and our confidence that he can act independently earn him our endorsement."
Illinois' high income taxes are a sticking point for Reick, who is a tax attorney. After the temporary income tax increase that boosted personal income taxes from 3 to 5 percent and corporate income taxes from 4.8 to 7 percent, the state collected an additional $31.6 billion in tax revenue. When the 2011 Taxpayer Accountability and Budget Stabilization Act expired in January 2015, the unpaid bill backlog had decreased by only about $1.5 billion.
Reick supports Gov. Bruce Rauner's Turnaround Agenda and opposes further tax increases, expressing support for reforms in the tax system, as long as taxes don't increase. Structural changes in the budget would allow legislators to slash wasteful spending while preserving full funding for education and other essential services. In addition, reforms in workers' compensation and business regulations would attract new businesses and stop the exodus of existing businesses from the state, Reick said. Encouraging business development increases revenue without raising taxes.
The Chicago Tribune's editorial board said, “A tax attorney, Reick understands the need for reform before Illinois asks taxpayers to dig deeper into their pockets.”
In addition to the three newspaper endorsements, Reick also received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association recently for his stance on the Second Amendment and gun rights.
Organizations in this Story
P.O. Box 27 Harvard, IL 60033