Illinois House District 51
First time candidate Amanda Howland, a 53-year-old Democrat from Lake Zurich, is challenging incumbent Ed Sullivan Jr., a 37-year- old Republican from Mundelein, to the 51 District state representative seat.
District 51 includes all or parts of Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Deer Park, Grayslake, Green Oaks, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Long Grove, Mettawa, Mundelein, North Barington, Round Lake Park, Vernon Hills, Wauconda and Waukegan.
The Daily Herald asked candidates their views in a questionnaire. Answers are edited for length.
Q. What changes, if any, would you support in the state's pension system for public employees?
Howland: It is wrong, in my opinion, to use the state's pension funds as a piggy bank to be used to cover budget shortfalls. That money was set aside for the retirements of employees, like teachers, who have served the public during their working lives and were promised this at the end of their careers. So, I would push to restrict such moves in the future. In addition, I would look to the best practices of other states in order to preserve, or even better, increase the level of funding for state employee pensions.
Sullivan: First, I would reverse the deferred pension payments of the present administration and get back to the pension payment plan created in 1995. Under this plan, the pension systems would have been fully funded by 2045. Second, I would support a change in the Illinois Constitution that would make it illegal to defer annual payments into state pension funds. It is illegal for taxing bodies such as municipalities to defer payments, it should be illegal for the state to do the same.
Q. Illinois continues to struggle with its budget, pensions, timely Medicaid reimbursement. Would you consider an increase in the state income or sales tax rate? …