Kirchoff: Any tax hikes must be tied to government reform
Republican Andy Kirchoff, running for the 24th District State House seat, recently revealed his positions on major issues affecting Illinois during the 2016 election year through a questionnaire-style interview.
Kirchoff, whose district encompasses parts of Chicago and its western suburbs, tackled queries formulated by the Chicago Sun-Times to educate his constituents on his positions and goals. With taxes taking the top spot, Kirchoff said he is open to long-term tax increases if they're contingent on state leaders making substantial changes to the system to ensure greater sustainability for the 24th District and beyond.
Having supported the state’s previous bipartisan pension-reform campaign, Kirchoff affirms the state’s obligation to pay off its debt to employees. Kirchoff also wants to create a practical budget while reducing the power wielded by the General Assembly, and he strongly advocates for equity in the educational arena, with a greater voice given to parents.
Kirchoff opposes shifting pension costs from the state to municipal governments or vice versa, believing that both sectors are currently unsustainable and stressing that pension and education issues should not be confused.
“I really don't think it's an exaggeration to say that pension costs are holding essential services hostage,” Kirchoff said, adding that funding reform is a necessity.
Kirchoff cautiously endorsed conservative increases in capital spending. While he doesn’t wish to see Illinois spend money unnecessarily, he said that failure to fund capital projects might backfire. Regarding manufacturing, he said that resolving higher-level issues such as pensions would help in the effort to rescue jobs.
As for energy strategy, Kirchoff said he believes in environmental sustainability and declared support for a “low-carbon-model” policy. At the same time, he cautioned against micromanagement.
Kirchoff said he would “likely oppose legislation limiting 'straw gun purchases' ” and would advocate for policies designed to enhance public safety. Likewise, Kirchoff endorses sentencing reform, especially for non-violent drug offenses, as well as closing juvenile prisons.
Kirchoff said state government should be reformed to allow for fewer opportunities for corruption.
“The best way to restore ethics in Illinois government is to remove the temptation of power and influence from legislators,” Kirchoff said.