On Feb. 20, Stanley Moore appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. We asked him why he’s running for Cook County commissioner in the 4th District in the March 2018 primary. He’s running uncontested in the November general election.
The County Board enacted and then repealed a tax on sweetened beverages, then made further cuts to the budget. Can county government now claim an appropriate balance of revenue and services, or will more revenue or more cost-cutting be necessary? Please be specific as to where new revenue might come from, or where further cuts could be made.
Moore: When faced with tough decisions, I will take the tough vote if it is the right thing to do. The County must continue moving towards performance based budgeting to ensure that resources are being used efficiently to serve the residents of Cook County by making data-driven decisions, focusing on priority initiaftives and core services. Adapting proper cause and effect mindsets of the County’s workforce and internal processes is critical to achieving optimal results. Successful budgeting processes mainly begins with analyzing recurring revenue streams verses actual operational expenses then recommending enhancements through streamlining and/or consolidating measures were appropriate.
If the Affordable Care Act is eliminated or curtailed, what would you propose doing to keep the county’s Health and Hospitals System on sound financial footing?
Moore: I would oppose any efforts to repeal the ACA, because it would significantly impact to financial hardship and a decrease of services. Increase patient wait times increase in healthcare costs to the County.
Who is Stanley Moore?
Political/civic background: I was appointed in April 2013 as the Cook County Commissioner of the 4th District and elected as Cook County Commissioner in November 2014 (Democratic Party). As Cook County Commissioner of the 4th District; I represent all or parts of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 18th and 21st Wards, as well as all or parts of Lansing, Calumet City, Burnham, Evergreen Park, South Holland, Dolton and a small part of Lynwood. I possess nearly 25 years of extensive experience in budget and finance, as well as substantive work. I have community outreach and advocacy experience that has supported community-based organizations and those on a national scope. I have worked in partnership with major corporations and organized labor groups to strengthen communities and educate charitable and corporate donors on the importance of making charitable donations to improve people’s lives by building better communities.
Occupation: Cook County Commissioner (4th District)
Education: B.S. Political Science from SIU
Campaign website: www.commissionermoore.com
What county functions or services would you support privatizing, if any, to reduce costs?
Moore: Privatization does not always equal savings; however, I am open to streamlining operations to be more efficient within Cook County departmental operations. The advance of Cook County Government must continue to focus on delivering good and sound business practices.
The state of Illinois is behind on paying money it owes to Cook County. What’s to be done about that?
Moore: Due to the lack of a State of Illinois budget for the last three years, County operations has experienced financial hardship as a whole. There is a need to for the elected officials from both the County and the State to meet and discuss how the Comptroller can expedite the paying of revenue owed to the County.
What is your position on tax-increment financing districts? Are they a valuable development tool? Are they underutilized? Is the process sufficiently transparent? Should there be more community input? Should the definition of a “blighted” area be revised?
Moore: The actions that I would take to make Cook County more affordable for working families and small businesses are to: 1) refine the language of the Tax Incentive Code, 2) work to pass an ordinance that would give tax breaks to businesses that operate in economically distressed communities, and 3) remove barriers to businesses that want to operate in Cook County.
Recently, there have been calls to freeze local property taxes. What’s your view on the matter?
Moore: When faced with tough decisions, I will take the tough vote if it is the right thing to do. No one is in favor of raising taxes, in particular property taxes. The 4 th District residents are at-risk of losing their homes. In this instance, streamlining operations would be a better option for review versus increasing taxes.
Do you support or oppose efforts to merge unincorporated pockets of the county into adjoining municipalities? If so, how would you make that happen?
Moore: It is very costly to maintain unincorporated areas of Cook County. The issue is that there are some communities that could afford to take over the unincorporated areas but choose not to because the revenue that unincorporated areas collect in property taxes does not cover the expenses of those areas. The infrastructure like sewer and water, streets and highway paving and repair are extremely costly.
What is your plan to encourage economic development in the county?
Moore: As Cook County Commissioner of the 4th District, I will continue to bring Economic Development and good paying jobs to our community. I will work to make it easier to start and grow a small business in Cook County, by supporting small business and entrepreneurship, we can grow jobs faster in the 4th district. We will eliminate the red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs to do business with Cook County.
I will support tax relief and tax simplification in tax incentives that the county provides to struggling businesses. I will provide targeted funding and support for entrepreneurship and small business growth in under-served communities.
I will support more Cook County Land Bank initiatives so we can eliminate blighted dilapidated homes in the community and provide a sustainable path to home ownership for more families that want to live comfortably in our community. I will also continue my work in making our community a place where people can be proud to call it their home and feel safe to raise happy and healthy children.
I will continue to support American manufacturing. I have been working to open a manufacturing training facility in the 4th District that will help to create thriving hubs of manufacturing and innovation throughout the County. Currently 80% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. Manufacturers invest approximately $3,000 in training for each new hire. Manufacturers spend approximately $1,500 per employee in training each year. My Training program will allow graduates to earn industry credentials through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), such as: CNC Milling Level 1 and NIMS CNC Turning Level 1 and they will also complete the OSHA 10 HR safety course and receive job placement, upon graduation.
An additional $40 million per year is needed to fund the Forest Preserve District’s Next Century Conservation Plan. Where can the county find the money?
Moore: Closing facilities that are underutilized.
Traditionally, the Forest Preserve District has not charged for parking in the preserves, but it is considering doing so at Swallow Cliff Woods. Do you support that?
Should the Forest Preserve District have its own board, independent of the County Board? Please explain.
Moore: No, I am not in favor of an independent operating board for the Forest Preserve. Under the current Forest Preserve District’s leadership and supporting Commissioners, such as myself, there has been a major shift and understanding of the beatification and conservation of nature, as well as proper usage of 75,000 acres of the Forest Preserve. As Cook County Commissioner of the 4th District, I have seen great improvements of the Forest Preserve District. There has been a great increase in utilization of the Forest Preserve District facilities, specifically the Dan Ryan Woods in the 4th District of Cook County which happens to produce the highest sale of permits annually.
Is Cook County treated fairly by the state? If not, how so?
Moore: No, without a State Budget for the last three years, County operations has experienced financial hardship.
Do you support another effort in the Legislature to reform the county’s pension system?
Moore: I am in support of structurally balancing the pension. We want to continue paying off the pension deficits and paying down our unfunded liabilities, without diverting funds from the pension.
Please name any relatives who hold a county job. What’s your general view on elected officials hiring relatives?
Moore: Elected officials do not hire anyone other than for their own staff. There are no family members that work on my staff.
Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.