State Senate hopeful Madigan eyes economic growth
Mike Madigan, Republican candidate for State Senate District 52, wants to fix the poor state of the Illinois economy.
“The main issue, and the reason that I got involved in this race is the poor state of the economy in Illinois,” Madigan told the Chambana Sun. “I think we need new people to step up and offer their experience in leadership to help get the economy turned around in Illinois. That’s what I hope to do with my experience in opening small businesses across central Illinois.”
He believes a fresh set of eyes and perspective can help Illinois that may set the state on a path to recovery. At the very least, a new set of eyes may be able to work with Gov. Bruce Rauner on reassessing the stalled budget that is waiting to be fixed in Springfield.
“Gov. Rauner was elected by the people of Illinois because he ran on a campaign of Illinois’ government and reforming the way it does business in order to reinvigorate the economy,” Madigan said. “And now he is being thwarted by career politicians in Springfield, mostly Democrats who are more interested in maintaining their power and the failed status quo of Illinois than reforming state government.”
Madigan believes Democratic representatives are stalling and not willing to compromise with Rauner.
“You hear the Democrats saying, ‘The governor is injecting non budget issues into the budget process.’ Well, in my opinion, he is using the one thing that he has at his disposal…and that is the budget," Madigan said. "If the Democrats are serious about getting a budget, they ought to be serious about some of his reforms. He only has four or five left on the table (from the 40 he sought) to suggest that he has not compromised…it’s just simply living in a fantasy world. He has time and again taken things off the table.”
However, one thing on which Rauner or Madigan would not compromise was the proposed amendment to change Illinois’ flat tax rate to a progressive one, which failed to gain tract in Springfield.
“There was an effort to change the Illinois constitution from a flat rate tax to a progressive income tax or better known as a graduated tax," Madigan said. "The flat income tax that Illinois has is frankly about the only competitive provision in the Illinois tax code. And to do away with the constitutionally would career politicians to then tax middle income folks at any rate that they would please down the road. This would remove the ability to apply a flat tax across all tax payers in Illinois and it would absolutely have a detrimental impact.”
Small businesses would be one of the biggest groups impacted by a move to graduated tax, according to Madigan.
“Many small businesses are what we would call ‘pass through,’” he said. “Their tax burden is ultimately passed through onto their personal income taxes and some studies that I have seen have indicated that this graduated income tax could have as high as a top marginal rate of 11.25 percent on small business owners, which would move Illinois from the middle of the pack in the country on income to the third worst in nation."
Madigan said that’s according to the Tax Foundation.
"I believe it would have a deleterious effect on the economy and I think it further discourage business from locating here," he said.
Madigan asserts that Illinois cannot support that such a drastic change, especially with neighboring states affording better tax incentives that could save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. Small businesses are essential to the state and they are being scared away by high taxes and high worker’s compensation rates.
“We pay twice the national average worker’s compensation,” Madigan said. “If we simply would reform causation factors in Illinois to the national average then we would remain competitive on that front…especially in districts like the district I’m running. We border Indiana. And small businesses, especially businesses like trucking companies, are leaving right and left to headquarter in Indiana, just across the border. [They are] still operating in Illinois, but they’re saving tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses a year.”
This, he argues, has created an influx of people leaving the state.
“We have an out migration rate in Illinois of approx 100,000 people a year,” Madigan said. “We’re losing, on average, $50,000 of adjusted gross income every five minutes. It’s just having a devastating impact…when you have less tax payers, the last thing you need to do is alienate them even further. What you need to do is attract new tax payers.”
Madigan called attention to the current controversy surrounding Frank Mautino, the state’s general auditor, who has been facing questions seeking clarification on certain spending and accounting irregularities in his now-inactive campaign fund. Most notable is an expenditure of more than $200,000 in gas and vehicle repairs at one Spring Valley business between 2005 and 2015.
“All I know is what I’ve heard,” Madigan said. “I have heard that the auto repairs that he claimed in his campaign expenditure reports were upwards of $250,000. I believe that he does need to answer for that. I know Frank Mautino. I have always thought well of him and I hope that he has explanations for these expenses; that can explain why there is such a high amount for something that should be a fairly routine and small expense for a campaign.”
Madigan believes that Mautino owes the public transparency on this matter. He also believe Mautino needs to do better.
“He does owe it to the people of Illinois to be forthright and explain those expenses because the auditor general needs to be above reproach” Madigan said. “He needs to be someone with 100 percent credibility when he puts forth an audit. The only way you do that is if you keep your own books in order and play by the rules.”