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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 63

Photo of Steven Reick

Steven Reick

Republican
Tax and Real Estate Attorney & Accountant
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Changing manner of funding education which will reduce property taxes while achieving better educational outcomes
  • Bringing jobs back to Illinois by adopting common sense reforms such as workers' comp, prevailing wage and tort reform
  • Addressing the looming disaster of Medicaid expansion

Experience

Experience

Profession:Tax and Real Estate Attorney & Accountant
Attorney, Self-employed (1980–current)

Education

University of Georgia J.D., Law (1980)
University of Georgia Master of Science, Accounting (Tax) (1980)
University of Illinois Bachelor of Science, Accountancy (Finance minor) (1975)

Community Activities

Volunteer, Christmas Clearing House, Woodstock Rotary Club (1991–current)
Chairman, Polio Plus campaign, Woodstock Rotary Club (1992–1992)
Founding Member and Youth Soccer Coach, Woodstock AYSO (1983–1986)

Biography

My story is simple. I was born and raised in Illinois. I remember when Illinois didn’t have a state income tax, yet was able to pay its bills. I grew up in a time when getting an education meant that a kid learned how to read and solve math problems from teachers who weren’t being told how to teach by lobbying groups in Washington, and when a person went to the doctor, he got a bill and paid with cash. I remember when a college student could come home in the summer and get a factory job that paid enough to cover most of the next year’s tuition.

Neither of my parents graduated from high school. Yet together they instilled in me the expectation that I’d go further, and as a result I was the first person from my entire family to attend college.

The fact that I have the benefit of the memory of when times were simpler gives me perspective, and offers me the hope that what was the greatness of this state can be restored. We may surround ourselves with complexities, but human nature doesn’t change. We still want what we’ve always wanted, a better life for ourselves and a brighter future for our children.

I set up my tax practice in 1982 and got on with living my life. My greatest satisfaction comes from helping those who find themselves wrestling with Federal and state bureaucracies, afraid that they’ll lose all they have to a power that they cannot resist.

I’ve also had disappointments, as we all do. There have been bumps in my road, including financial setbacks. At one point, I lost a business, I lost my house, and I had a stroke, all in the course of one month. But I think they’ve made me better able to understand and advocate for those who don’t have all the advantages, who worry if their next paycheck may be their last. Americans, more than any other nationality, are known less for who they are than for what they do. The loss of one’s job or business cuts at one’s identity; the fears that ordinary families face in our current economic times strike to their very souls.

Standing by me through this journey has been my wife, Deb. For 35 years we’ve seen the ups and downs, raised 3 kids and seen the arrival of 4 grandchildren. Upon moving to Woodstock in 1983, I practiced law and Deb opened a travel agency which served Woodstock and McHenry County for over 12 years. In the meantime, we became involved in our community, joining Rotary, where I chaired the club’s Polio Plus campaign and have “shaken the can” for its Christmas Clearing House project for over 30 years. When my kids were young, I coach youth soccer. We’re moving on to this phase of our lives as we’ve done with all the others, together and with a sense of adventure.

I’ve been given many blessings. Now it’s time to give back. I’m running for office with the hope that what I do there can in some small way make it easier for some kid now watching his parents struggle to give him something they never had have a fighting chance of realizing his dream.

J.K. Rowling once said that after a series of setbacks, she hit rock bottom, and she used rock bottom as the foundation upon which she rebuilt her life. I’ve done the same, and I’m convinced that Illinois can do so as well.

Questions & Answers

Questions from Chicago Sun-Times (15)

Do you support term limits for legislators? Do you support term limits for legislative leaders? Please explain.
Answer from Steven Reick:

I do not support term limits, as I think a better way of limiting the amount of time people serve in elected office should be determined by drawing district boundaries using a non-partisan commission and denying pension coverage to elected officials. Unfortunately, the recent IL Supreme Court decision denying ballot access to a redistricting amendment takes that option off the table, but it doesn't change my opinion on term limits.

Furthermore, term limits serve as a disincentive for public participation in political affairs, as people will come to assume that if an official is term limited, how much damage can he or she do in such a short period of time?

Finally, without the institutional knowledge that comes from experience, too many legislators would begin to rely to an ever greater degree on non-elected staff, thereby cutting the cord of electoral accountability.

In a perfect world, legislative leaders should be chosen by their respective caucuses without the prospect of financial support or denial of same hanging over their heads.

 

Who do you think bears responsibility for the budget stalemate? Do you have your own ideas on how to resolve it?
Answer from Steven Reick:

The budget stalemate falls squarely upon the legislature. My district gave Governor Rauner a 36% electoral margin mandate to go to Springfield and do what he said he was going to do to bring business back to Illinois and create jobs. Had a single seat flipped from Democrat to Republican in 2014, we would, in all likelihood, have a budget by now. I support the Governor's common sense economic reforms, and will do so when I am elected.

A June 3 New York Times op-ed was headlined “Higher Education in Illinois is Dying” because of significant funding cuts. Do you agree or not with Gov. Bruce Rauner that additional large cuts could be necessary?
Answer from Steven Reick:

We have to disabuse ourselves of the notion that higher education can only be gotten by attending a brick and mortar institution. As more avenues for gaining a college degree are opened, such as online degree programs, we have a responsibility to taxpayers to examine the cost-effectiveness of maintaining those institutions. When we hold in our cell phones all of the world's knowledge and the means to exploit it, higher education must be adapted to accommodate that change.

How should the state’s school funding formula be changed to give all children a better chance at a quality education?
Answer from Steven Reick:

I've discussed education funding on my blog (www.steve463.com). Education funding is the responsibility of the State, not local property taxpayers. Too much of the money that people in my district send to Springfield ends up in Chicago. There needs to be a complete revision of the way we fund education, and it begins with treating a kid in Harvard, Illinois the same way a kid in the CPS system is treated. I'm interested in exploring the educational funding program that has been adopted in Nevada, called the "Educational Choice Scholarship Program" (https://www.edchoice.org/school-choice/programs/nevada-educational-choice-scholarship-program/), which puts parents fully in charge of the money being allocated by the state for their children's education. Any way you slice it, we need to change the way we pay for education so as to give the property owners in my district relief from the crushing burden of real estate taxes.

Without a budget, Illinois is spending much more than it takes in, leading to an ever-growing stack of bills, underfunded services and a growing deficit. What new revenue sources do you support to help fix this problem?
Answer from Steven Reick:

I'm willing to look at our entire revenue structure, but any changes must be revenue-neutral. Those who got their tax increase in 2010 did nothing with it, in fact, the underfunding our our pension systems increased by 4%. We need to get our spending under control.

In addition, Illinois has been down for so long that we've acquired a form of "Stockholm Syndrome" about the notion of economic growth. I firmly believe that if Springfield can get its act together, economic growth will begin to happen. This state has too many natural advantages for businesses to ignore, but those advantages are being negated by the clown car in Springfield. Businesses want stability above everything else, and if we build it, they will come. With that will come increasing employment and sustainable revenue growth.

 

A constitutional amendment is on the ballot that would require money raised for transportation not be spent elsewhere. Do you support this concept? Also, transportation planners say more money is needed for roads and bridges, Metra, CTA rail services and the like. Do you agree and, if so, where would you get the funding?
Answer from Steven Reick:

I do support the transportation lock box, and we must take the additional step of changing the way we tax motor fuels. I support moving to a straight motor fuel tax with no additional sales tax, such as is the case in Wisconsin, with all revenue raised being applied 100% to improvements to our transportation system. The sales tax we collect is a tax on a tax, and must be eliminated on motor fuel sales.

In the last session, the governor and Legislature turned their attention away from pension reform. What initiatives do you support to reduce the costs of pensions?
Answer from Steven Reick:

I support moving all new employees to a defined contribution model of retirement savings. While the Illinois Constitution guarantees the benefits under the state's retirement and health care systems, the drafters placed the responsibility for funding directly upon the legislature, which has utterly failed in that task. We've seen just this week that the TRS is looking to reduce the assumed rate of return on its portfolio, which will only increase the amount needed from taxpayers to fund the annual contribution. While such a move would reflect economic reality, that horse left the barn years ago. Most of my clients are pilots for United Airlines, and I know first-hand what it looks like when a pension plan explodes, and it’s not pretty. The same thing’s happening here, only the numbers are bigger and the taxpayers are going to be left holding the bag.

Furthermore, next year fully 25% of our general revenue will go to pay for pensions, most of it being the past underfunding. We need to agree on what is the actual amount of the underfunded portion of the pension and carve it out of the budget, treat it as a capital project much like a road or an airport, and find a dedicated revenue stream to pay it down. That would allow us to get back to budgeting under normal budget rules. Doing so would show businesses that we're serious about getting our house in order. It would also encourage the ratings agencies to upgrade Illinois' credit rating, saving us millions. In addition, the reinsurance premiums that the state pays on its debt would go down. All of this would provide additional revenue that could be put toward paying down the underfunded pensions. I would also support taking $2 out of every $3 of revenue derived from economic growth and applying it to the underfunding.

Do you support measures to reduce Illinois’ prison population and divert more money into community-based services?
Answer from Steven Reick:

If public safety is not compromised, I'm willing to consider such measures.

There are calls to reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture system, which allows police and prosecutors to seize and take – permanently – property from someone who has not been convicted of a crime? What is your view?
Answer from Steven Reick:

I oppose civil forfeiture.

Do you support allowing transgender persons born in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery first?
Answer from Steven Reick:

No

What is your view on so-called “death with dignity” — physician-assisted suicide — which has become a contentious issue in other states? California’s End of Life Option Act took effect on June 9.
Answer from Steven Reick:

I'm firmly pro-life and cannot support assisted suicide.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Steven Reick:

The best answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. We need to allow greater freedom to those who would carry for their own protection and the protection of their families and property.

A number of states and local jurisdictions (including Chicago) have recently increased the minimum wage. Do you support or oppose a statewide increase in the minimum wage? If so, what should the new minimum be, and by when? Should local jurisdictions be prohibited from passing their own minimum wage laws?
Answer from Steven Reick:

I don't support minimum wage legislation, because it serves as a barrier to entry at the bottom of the employment ladder. The actual minimum wage in Illinois is $0.00, and far too many people are earning that amount.

In the past couple of legislative sessions, there has been a proposal to add a 1 cent tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Illinois. Do you support or oppose such a measure, and why?
Answer from Steven Reick:

I oppose tax increases, whether they're sugar coated or not. Such a bill is nothing more than a tax increase disguised as social engineering.

In recent years, there has been a growing push to increase the development and use of renewable energy sources. Do you support or oppose these preferences?
Answer from Steven Reick:

If such energy sources can sustain themselves without government subsidy, fine. Government has no business propping up enterprises that can't support themselves.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I fully subscribe to the concept of subsidiarity, described by David Bosnich of the Acton Institute as follows:

"This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State."

Position Papers

Issues Facing the 63rd District and the State of Illinois

Summary

My positions on a wide range of topics are plainly and fully described on my website (www.steve463.com)

My positions on a wide range of topics are plainly and fully described on my website (www.steve463.com)

Candidate Contact Info

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