Michael Strick, Republican candidate for District 84 of the Illinois House of Representatives, said his campaign so far has seen him speaking with constituents about representation in the state and the terms state officials serve.
“I (am) having very good luck knocking on doors and talking to people about the issues we’re having in the state of Illinois,” he told the Dupage Policy Journal. “I’m really concerned about the lack of representative government that we have. We have people that have been in the house for 40 years, 30 years and 20 years. And I just feel that political offices are not supposed to be a lifelong occupation.”
Strick said he believes there should be a limit on not only what the government can do but on how long elected officials serve. To reflect this belief, he himself will limit his own service if he wins the seat for the House, serving only eight years.
If he is allowed to serve, he said he has his sights set on fixing what he believes is a current trending problem in Illinois: the stagnation of employment due to the many burdens placed on businesses.
“I really want to try to bring jobs back to Illinois,” Strick said. “We have such an unfavorable climate for big corporations to even stay in Illinois due to the high taxes, high workers compensation rules and high tort lawsuits that are litigated against corporations. We really need to try to become a more business-friendly state instead of taxing everybody to the hills.”
Strick, who owns and operates a small business, understands the complexity of running a business in the state and doesn’t believe that the proposal supported by House Deputy Lou Lang (D-Skokie) to increase taxes on small businesses to 11.25 percent is a sound and reasonable plan.
“I don’t think that is the way to go," he said. "Right now, Illinois is highly taxed on everything. You look at the city of Chicago, they are at 10.5 percent sales tax. At (my store), it’s at 8.25 percent sales tax.”
Strick added that he believes there is a breaking point to how much the citizens of Illinois can take before they leave the state.
“How much more can the people of Illinois take before they start saying ‘why am I staying in Illinois when I can go to Indiana, or Wisconsin, or Florida?’" he asked. "Right now, we have so many millionaires that are leaving ... just due to the fact that they can get cheaper tax rates in other states."
He said that Gov. Bruce Rauner is doing his best to turn that around.
“I have to agree with Gov. Rauner that he is really trying to turn things around here in the Illinois," Strick said. "I support his proposals. When is enough enough in taxes? There’s got to be a breaking point where people just say I can’t do it anymore. And that’s one of the big reasons why I am running. I’m a business owner. I see what it takes to run a business, to have employees, to pay the workman’s compensation insurance, to pay the property taxes. It’s just very unfriendly.”
As an example, he stated that his tax bill for his small business is almost $16,000, which is three-month’s profit for his company. Strick said the burdens may be too much for small businesses and hopes to change that, believing that small business owners are the ones who really drive the local economy.
The Illinois economy is a large concern for Strick, who briefly addressed the recent Bloomberg article about Illinois’ budget stagnation.
“My opinion is that, with (Democratic House Speaker) Mike Madigan being in charge…for almost 40 years, they have a super majority," he said. "They can pass the budget. And the same with the Senate and (Democratic Senate President) John Cullerton. They can both pass the budget without Rauner able to veto it.”
Strick stated his belief that this is a political game engaged by Madigan.
“It’s a big political game and Madigan and Cullerton are trying to make Gov. Rauner look like he is the bad guy,” he said. “When I talk to people, when I knock on their doors, they know what is going on. People are very aware of what’s happening in the state and the House and Senate in Illinois.”
Strick believes that things can change, however. But it starts with a conversation.
“I think the taxes and the creative ways that Madigan’s team is coming up with trying to tax the constituents of Illinois is really shameful," he said. "He hasn’t even once looked at anything to reduce government what so ever. So if we could start having a decent conversation about that stuff (it will be progress). I just feel that our services are way down and people are paying way too much in taxes.”