On Feb. 1, Burt Minor appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. We asked him why he’s running for the GOP nomination in the Illinois House of Representatives in the 42nd District:
My name is Burt Minor, my political background is I’m a current Chairman of the the Republican Party out in DuPage County. I’ve been a committeeman for 20 years, I’ve been a city Alderman in Warrenville for four years. My work experience, 23 year retired colonel in the Air Force, I flew B52s, 130s and 135s, I have a whole experience of management throughout that area…I own a business I’ve been working in the business industry as well for about 15 years.
Top priority is we’ve got to get Illinois back in the black. We’ve got to get the budgetary part fixed so we can go ahead and get started on fixing the social issues that need so much of our care. Number one past the budget is education, trying to help our kids because that’s our future and that’s what I care about most.
My main cause, representing the people of Illinois, try to be the political agent down there for every citizen in the 42nd District.
The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates seeking nominations for the Illinois House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois. Burt Minor submitted the following answers to our questionnaire:
TOPIC: Top priorities.
QUESTION: Please explain what your specific cause or causes will be. Please avoid a generic topic or issue in your answer.
ANSWER: My top priority is to balance the budget and get Illinois back in the black.
We must prioritize all spending and examine all past expenditures. We have so many unfunded mandates that it has paralyzed the state. Many programs that have been funded have never been evaluated, and go forth without any consequences or validation. I will ask for validation from all these areas and help prioritize these expenses, and eliminate the failed areas.
Amending the employee pension shortfalls. This is one of the most critical issues facing our state and it is also crushing our local governments. Previous politicians made outlandish promises Illinois cannot sustain. A 401(k) style plan and giving existing workers the option to have their own self-managed accounts is a big first step. We need to look at a Constitutional Amendment allowing a reform of pension benefits going forward.
Running for: Illinois House of Representatives 42nd district
Winfield Township Republican Chairman and Committeeman
DuPage County Republican Central Committee Member, Chaired County Fair, Chaired Top Golf and John Tiegen Fundraisers
Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Legislative Chairman, 2018 Spirit Award Winner
Wheaton Chamber of Commerce
Summerlakes Homeowner Association Past Board Director and President
Boy Scout Troop 514 Past Scout Master- Eagle Scout Troop 42
Past Alderman, City of Warrenville, IL
American Legion Member, West Chicago
Veterans for Foreign Wars Life Member, Warrenville
West Chicago Rotarian
Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Member
Occupation: Retired USAF Officer Lieutenant Colonel (23 years), Owner LMC
Education: MS Embry Riddle University, BS SIU Carbondale, AA/AS Belleville Area College, AA Community College of the Air Force
Campaign website: Minor4StateRep42.com
TOPIC: Top district needs
QUESTION: Please list three district-specific needs that will be your priorities. This could be a project that is needed in your district, or a rule that needs to be changed, or some federal matter that has been ignored.
ANSWER: Top 3 district needs are the same as the States. Budget, Pensions, Increase jobs/ Businesses
I believe the funding back log for our schools (Some owed over $70 million) will improve once the top 3 are resolved.
TOPIC: Pension debt
QUESTION: In 2017, Illinois’ unfunded pension liability ballooned to at least $130 billion. Do you support re-amortizing this debt? Please explain your answer. And what is your position on a constitutional amendment that would reduce the liability of the pension debt?
ANSWER: The pension liability is a huge problem and only going to get worse. I do agree we need to look at a constitutional amendment that would reduce the liability, but not at the peril of the pensions of current retirees. As for re-amortizing the debt, that is just kicking the can down the road, but may have merit with proper restrictions.
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TOPIC: Minimum wage
QUESTION: Cook County and Chicago are on their way to paying a $13 hourly minimum wage. Many suburbs in the county, however, have opted out of the wage increase. Should Illinois raise its minimum wage from $8.25 an hour? Please explain. And if you favor an increase in the state minimum wage, what should it be?
ANSWER: As a member of two Chambers of Commerce, I am obviously Pro Business. I believe a mandatory increase in minimum wage along with the recent tax increase, will hurt many of the suburb businesses. I do feel as we get the State “Back in the Black”, this should be examined yearly.
QUESTION: Should recreational marijuana be legalized in Illinois? Please explain.
ANSWER: I understand to many it is a revenue issue. I have concerns about the social, medical and regulatory issues. I have watched in amazement as Colorado, Washington, and now California and Oregon legalize marijuana. Although each state stands to add billions of revenue, the research on the negatives on the health and welfare of the users of marijuana shows long-term harm. There are also the short-term effects of both increased DUIs and increased addiction. I oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois.
QUESTION: Would you support more casinos in Illinois, including in Chicago. What about racinos? Please explain.
ANSWER: I am not against more Casinos. I have seen Aurora, Joliet, East St Louis, and Elgin casinos as businesses bring healthy economic growth to those communities. Obviously I am concerned about the negatives as well.
TOPIC: Property tax freeze
QUESTION: A property tax freeze in Illinois has been proposed frequently since Gov. Bruce Rauner took office. What’s your position? If you favor a freeze, how many years should it last? Should the freeze exclude property tax increases to service the debt, make pension payments or cover the cost of public safety? Again, please explain.
ANSWER: I am in favor of looking at a 4-year property tax freeze. I believe a freeze would need to have concessions for servicing debts, pension payments and the cost of public safety.
With the increase of 32% income tax and the decrease in home values, how can we tell a homeowner we need more? A family must stay within their budget, so must the State.
TOPIC: School funding
QUESTION: A revised school funding formula was approved this year by the Legislature and the governor, but a bipartisan commission has concluded that billions more dollars are needed to achieve sufficient and equitable funding. Should Illinois spend more on schools, and where would the money come from?
ANSWER: I believe our children’s education is one of the State’s Top Priorities. Unfortunately we do not have the funds, Many schools are already owed millions from as far back as five years. Giving the Chicago Schools over $260 Million dollars on this funding bill did not help the ever-growing debt. We must put a tourniquet on the spending, shore up new businesses and jobs, and then tackle the education funding problems.
QUESTION: How can the Legislature best address the problem of opioid abuse and addiction? Please cite specific laws you have supported or would support.
ANSWER: This epidemic killed 1889 people in Illinois in 2016. The State of Illinois put an Opioid Action Plan together in Sept, 2017. The plan is set to help reduce 33% of the deaths by 2020. Unfortunately, that still leaves almost 2000 people per year to die from this abuse. Unacceptable.
QUESTION: Do you support a state ban on gun silencers? Please explain.
ANSWER: I have read the assertions of why silencers are needed. I have met with police and military experts. I have used a silencer at a shooting range. I am not in favor of this ban.
QUESTION: Should all gun dealers in Illinois be licensed by the state? Please explain.
ANSWER: All gun dealers are already licensed by the Federal Government (ATF). Why would Illinois have to add to that? I can see Illinois adding some classes such as firearms safety courses.
QUESTION: Should family members be empowered to petition courts for the temporary removal of guns from emotionally or mentally disturbed people who may be a danger to themselves or others? Please explain.
ANSWER: As worded, who would disagree with this question? Who would determine who is emotionally or mentally disturbed is the tougher issue. Once that determination was settled, I would be in favor.
QUESTION: What would you do to ensure the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid program? Do you support continued Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act? Should the state continue on a path toward managed care for Medicaid beneficiaries? Should everyone be permitted to buy into Medicaid?
ANSWER: Medicaid takes up over 1/3 of the States general funds budget. We need to slow the growth of Medicaid as we try to put Illinois out of debt. We need to move Medicaid recipients into managed care.
TOPIC: College student exodus
QUESTION: Illinois is one of the largest exporters of college students in the country. What would you do to encourage the best and brightest young people in Illinois to attend college here at home? Does Illinois have too many state universities, as some have argued?
ANSWER: I have been amazed at how many DuPage college students are going to the University of Iowa and other state universities outside of Illinois. Obviously, we are doing something wrong here. We need to better educate and eliminate waste and redundancies. We have 12 State Universities with each having its own Boards – WHY?
TOPIC: Gov. Rauner
QUESTION: Please list three of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s principles, or decisions he has made, with which you agree. Also please list three of the governor’s principles, or decisions he has made, with which you disagree.
ANSWER: Gov Rauner has inherited a very tough financial mess. I believe he is trying very hard and against enormous odds when the House and Senate are Democrat majorities.
I agree with him on his call for term limits. The reality is that because 2/3 of all seats on the ballot are usually unopposed, bad politicians can seldom be voted out. The only way to assure turnover is to make long-time incumbents ineligible.
I agree with him that congressional and legislative districts must be drawn mathematically and impartially, not politically to give one party an advantage over another. The shape of Michael Madigan’s own district would make Elbridge Gerry blush!
I agree with him that the legislature must act responsibly, take up the balanced budget proposals he submits, and pass a budget where expenditures are LESS than revenues so that the pension and other debt can be paid down.
I disagree with his decision to sign the bill making Illinois a sanctuary state. The Rule of Law must be upheld; officials and others cannot pick and choose which laws to obey.
I disagree with his decision to sign the bill extending taxpayer-paid abortions,
I have no other disagreements.