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On September 26th, The League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Palatine Area, lwvpalatinearea.org, conducted a virtual non-partisan candidate forum for three candidates running for the 52nd District of the Illinois House of Representatives; Martin McLaughlinAlia Sarfraz and Marci Suelzer. The YouTube recording of the meeting can be viewed here.

We listened intently to the recording and felt we would be remiss if we did not share at least one excerpt we believe is critical for voters to hear or read. The LWV asked candidates to,

“Think of a person that is, or has served in Springfield, that’s made an impact for the better in our state.”

Marci Suelzer’s response to this simple question was,

Marci Suelzer

I’m somewhat at a disadvantage in this question in that I did not grow up in Illinois. But I do think that Governor Pritzker has made an impact in saving lives in Illinois.

I wish that I had a better base of historical knowledge to go back two decades or whatever, but I simply don’t.”

The question and her response can be heard here.

Though she admittedly lacks experience, that has not stopped significant contributions to Suelzer’s campaign which only began less than three months ago. Her campaign committee has amassed upwards of $400,000, primarily from Democratic Party of Illinois ($129k), Democratic Majority ($94k), LIUNA Chicago Laborers ($58k), Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC ($58k) and Friends to Elect Kathleen Willis ($45k).

Clearly with this overabundance of political funding, Marci Suelzer does not need to worry about her lack of experience, since if she is elected, her well-financed handlers will tell her how to vote.

Martin McLaughlin has been running for the 52nd District for nearly a year with funding of about 20% of that of his opponent. What matters most when considering which candidate to vote for in an election;

  • (a) one who has been successfully leading a Village for eight years or
  • (b) one who, although inexperienced, has substantial financial backing from the current State leadership?

You decide!

Campaign finance references: Marci Suelzer Campaign Committee, Martin McLaughlin For State Representative

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The contest ahead of a Nov. 3 vote on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution remains close. There are many interesting paths forward depending on the eventual outcome of this vote.

The fight over the graduated income tax—or the “Fair Tax,” as Gov. J.B. Pritzker branded it—has rightly been called a battle of the billionaires.

But it’s not just billionaires like Pritzker and his chief opponent on the tax, Citadel founder Ken Griffin, who have big stakes in the tax vote. All of us do.

The contest ahead of a Nov. 3 vote on Pritzker’s proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution remains close. A source familiar with daily polling data from the pro-amendment side told me the projected outcome is within the margin of error of the polls, too close to call.

Other facts support this. Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton recently warned about a possible 20 percent tax hike on everyone if the amendment fails. The threat would not be needed if the vote were secure.

Griffin late last month poured another $26.8 million into the campaign to stop the amendment. He wouldn’t have doubled his initial outlay if the outcome weren’t still in play.

It’s astounding the contest is close. The “fair tax” is a soak-the-rich appeal to raise taxes on the top 3 percent of earners. The remaining 97 percent are told their taxes will drop or stay the same. The 6 million taxpayers expecting lower or level tax bills should overwhelm the 190,000 in the top 3 percent who would face a tax hike.

Of course, politics is more than math. It requires understanding the hopes and fears of people, their sense of whom to trust and what to believe. Those concerns help explain why Pritzker’s proposal is not faring better.

Read more from the Better Government Association here.

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This is the Tribune Editorial Board’s second installment of endorsements for contested Illinois House races in the Nov. 3 general election.

52nd District

Think it’s tough trying to get things done in Springfield? Try Barrington Hills.

When Republican Marty McLaughlin became mayor in 2013, the Village Board split on issues was 5-2 and McLaughlin was one of the two minority votes. Still, he got his initiatives through, including a consolidation of 911 services that saved taxpayers millions of dollars. As an investment manager, he knows money.

And he knows that because of the pandemic, revenue from state taxes will be a sliver of what they were before. Other states, he says, have decided to slash spending to brace for less money coming in. That’s the course Illinois should take as well, McLaughlin says.

McLaughlin says. His opponent, Island Lake Democrat Marci Suelzer, is a business executive and a licensed mental health counselor. Her skill set is extensive, but McLaughlin is endorsed.

Read the rest of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsements here.

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Martin McLaughlin, the village president of Barrington Hills since 2013, is an advocate for reducing spending and cutting taxes.

He is running in the state’s 52nd House District against Marci Suelzer, a Democrat from Island Lake, and Alia Sarfraz, a Green Party candidate from South Barrington.

The three are seeking to replace longtime state Rep. David McSweeney, who isn’t seeking reelection.

McLaughlin criticized the state for passing a budget this past spring that included a projected $6 billion deficit.

He said that in Barrington Hills, village officials started having conversations in the spring about what the pandemic’s economic impact would look like and what that would mean for village revenues.

“I just want the state to recognize the revenue will not be there and to be proactive about that, whatever that takes as far as reductions in spending or cuts or an overall look,” he said in a group interview with the editorial boards of the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald.

Read the full Northwest Herald endorsement here.

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The League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area, lwvpalatinearea.org, has scheduled a virtual, nonpartisan Candidate Forums September 26 from 11 AM to noon to help inform and educate voters prior to the Nov. 3 General Election. Candidates running for the Illinois House of Representatives 52nd District are Martin McLaughlin, Alia Sarfraz and Marci Suelzer.

Register for virtual forum at: https://balibrary.librarycalendar.com/events/illinois-52nd-candidate-forum.

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Illinois residents with licenses or ID cards that have expired or will in October, November, December or January now have through Feb. 1 to renew.

Drivers with expiring licenses will get another reprieve through Feb. 1, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Wednesday.

It’s the latest of several driving-related deadlines White has extended related to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to prevent crowds at facilities.

The previous extension stretched to Nov. 1, but now Illinois residents with licenses or ID cards that expired or will expire in October, November, December or January have extra time to renew.

The deadline to renew vehicle stickers, which was extended through Nov. 1, remains firm since Illinoisans can do that task online at cyberdriveillinois.com.

Read more here.

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When we present arguments against a graduated income tax — a referendum will be at the top of the November ballot for voters to decide — we hope to convince those of you on the fence. Regular readers of the Tribune editorial page already are familiar with our fiscal policy recommendations and frustration with politicians who have failed for decades to straighten out this state’s spiraling financial mess.

In our view, switching from a constitutionally protected flat tax to a graduated income tax would allow Illinois politicians to tinker with rates — to extract more money from hardworking taxpayers — without forcing them, the politicians, to do the hard work of streamlining government, cutting spending and eliminating the structural deficit that has made this state a deadbeat for more than a decade. It is beyond irresponsible that the state can’t pay for services for its most vulnerable, can’t pay its bills on time and has a credit rating near junk status.

Other states with graduated income tax rates that are running smoothly are running smoothly because they are well-run states — not because of the “magic” of a graduated tax structure.

That’s our take. But to readers undecided, and even for those of you who plan to vote in favor of the graduated tax amendment, give us a shot at trying to change your minds. Unlocking the Illinois Constitution’s flat rate is the wrong path toward a healthy Illinois, which is the outcome we all, regardless of party or politics, want to see. We all strive for the revival of the great state of Illinois. But this is not the way to do it.

Illinois elected officials need to be responsible stewards of the people’s money: Pay the state’s bills on time. Respect taxpayers by spending frugally. Reduce the size and scope of government by focusing on essential services. Offer voters a chance to vote on term limits, redistricting reform and a pension amendment.

Read the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board’s opinions here.

Related:Editorial: Closing arguments, Part One: Why voters should reject Pritzker Tax

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Martin McLaughlin, left, and Marci Suelzer

The voters in the 52nd Illinois House District have been spoiled by the representation of David McSweeney.

To all those who say individual state representatives are powerless in a General Assembly controlled by legislative leaders, we say look at the performance of the Barrington Hills Republican.

For eight years, McSweeney has served with unmatched energy and tireless efforts at building relationships on both sides of the aisle. and by keenly picking his spots, he’s been uniquely successful at getting things done.

McSweeney will be a tough act to follow, but the voters have two good options to do so — Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin and Democrat Marci Suelzer of Island Lake, who brings a well-rounded background in legal affairs and mental health.

We recommend McLaughlin, the Republican.

Read the full Daily Herald Editorial Board endorsement here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other Democratic politicians want voters to profoundly amend the Illinois Constitution. Call their proposal the “Pritzker Tax,” placed on the ballot thanks to exclusively Democratic votes in the General Assembly.

For the first time since Connecticut in 1996, if approved, an American state would switch from a flat income tax to a graduated tax. That is, if you earn five times what your neighbor earns, you must pay five times as much to the state. In 2018, Colorado voters rejected an amendment to convert from flat to graduated. North Carolina and Kentucky have gone the opposite direction, to flat taxes.

The switch hasn’t gone well for Connecticut, where progressively higher income and property taxes have driven residents to other states. The change would be similarly bad for Illinois, which already has lost population for six straight years. As young people abandon this state or don’t return here to start their families and careers, the Illinois Exodus intensifies. Every time a taxpayer departs for Florida, Tennessee or Texas, the tax burden on those of us who remain grows heavier.

So each of us should think skeptically, not reflexively by political tribe, about what the Pritzker Tax would do to Illinois. Five reasons, among others we’ll discuss in future installments, why you should vote it down:

  • The pols haven’t earned trust
  • ‘Save Illinois — and get a tax cut too!’
  • ‘Double pinkie swear, this time is different!’
  • What the Dems don’t admit
  • ‘Let the people vote’

Read the full Chicago Tribune Editorial Board’s opinions here.

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Martin McLaughlin, left, and Marci Suelzer are candidates for the 52nd state House District seat.

Six candidates vying for three Illinois House seats from the North and Northwest suburbs on Nov. 3 debated the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the state budget during a Zoom interview with members of the Daily Herald Editorial Board this week.

The interviews were with candidates running for seats in the 51st, 52nd and 54th House districts.

In the 52nd District, Democrat Marci Suelzer of Island Lake and Republican Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin are vying for the seat long held by GOP Rep. David McSweeney, who isn’t seeking reelection.

McLaughlin criticized the state for passing a 2020-21 fiscal year spending plan, including a $6 billion deficit and without addressing the economic impact of business closures due to the pandemic.

“I believe the legislature should have been involved in the decision making,” he said. “And I’d like to see that taken up in fall session because I think we’re going to miss our numbers by more than we could ever imagine. I just want the state to recognize the revenue will not be there, and to be proactive about that, whatever that takes as far as reductions in spending or cuts or an overall look.”

Read more here.

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