For the 2018 November general election, the Northwest Herald sent out questionnaires to candidates running for office.
Those questionnaires from each candidate that responded are featured on our Election Central website for our readers to help you make informed decisions when you go to the polls.
The purpose is to help our readers to get know the candidates and where they stand on the important issues facing McHenry County this election. Click here to check out the rest of our questionnaires, videos and more for this election.
Name: Trisha Zubert
Office sought: State Representative, District 64
Elected offices held: School Board Member and School Board President, St. Mary of the Annunciation, Mundelein
1) Why are you the best person to represent the 64th District?
I'm the best person to represent the 64th District because I want to represent the people who live here. I'm more concerned with making the voices of the people who live here, heard and helped. My opponent claims he's going to fix property taxes, yet on the county board he's voted to increase them at every opportunity. We don't need more people saying on thing and doing another in Springfield.
2) What are your top three legislative priorities?
Fixing property taxes and minimize the loopholes being abused.
Stopping the opioid crisis.
Protecting the environment
3) How will you be effective in a state House of Representatives that is likely to remain under the control of Speaker Michael Madigan and the Democratic Party?
I think it's time we stop using the Speaker as an excuse for things not getting done. We're all adults, it's time to stop pointing the finger at each other across the aisle and work together instead.
4) Pension obligations consume a growing share of local, county and state government budgets, and the state has more than $100 billion in unfunded pension liability. What should the legislature do to address this problem?
This is one more problem of not having a budget. These are debts. We need to pay them. If they were corporations owed that money, we wouldn't be discussing just ignoring it. If we don't have enough money to cover those that we owe, then we need to find out where we can cut spending. If we all can't figure out a solution to that, perhaps we shouldn't be paid until we can.
5) Should the 32 percent income tax hike that took effect in 2017 be repealed? If so, how should the state levy income tax and at what rate?
I'm supportive of putting a question before the voters that allows for a change in how we tax in the State of Illinois. There's too much of a tax burden placed on the middle class right now. I want a tax plan that lowers the burden on the middle class and places more of the burden on those who can most afford to pay it: the wealthy. Obviously, any change to our tax structure would need to be a constitutional amendment, so by law it would need to be placed before the voters. The General Assembly will debate it, set rates, and vote to put it on the ballot. Then the voters get to decide. So, while I don't support the 32 percent income tax hike, we need to put it to outside fiscal experts so that they can help us to figure out exactly where the decimal point should go. Then we have the ability make sure the voters are onboard.
6) Should marijuana be legalized for recreational use in Illinois? If so, how? If not, why not?
Absolutely, because 2/3 of the State of Illinois supports legalizing marijuana. There have been many studies on how Colorado is doing after legalization, and I can nearly guarantee my opponent will quote the one that says it was bad. However, there have been many counter-studies to that one negative one that refute a lot of what it says. For example, there is no proof that an increase in criminal activity is a direct result of the legalization of marijuana. If we legalize it, we can tax it , regulate it, place restrictions on who can grow it, how it's grown, what is in it, who can sell it, and at what age you can buy it. In general, a regulated product is safer than a product you buy on the black market.
7) How can lawmakers provide property tax relief for homeowners? How will you work to make this happen?
We can fully fund education. While we've passed education funding reform, it didn't go far enough. We need to meet our obligation to our kids, but 75% of our property tax bill goes to school districts. If the State of Illinois an start paying its fair share towards funding education, we can reduce the property tax burden for homeowners. We also need to consolidate redundant layers of government. There are over 7,000 layers of local government in the State of Illinois, and many of them levy property taxes. If we reduce the number of units of government we can reduce property taxes. Finally, there are too many loopholes that people are abusing. We need to maintain exemptions for the people who need them most, but we should eliminate exemptions that are often taken advantage of by the wealthy. All this does is force the middle class to pick up a larger share of the property tax burden.
8) Who do you support in the race for Illinois governor, and how would you work with that person to help the 70th District?
I support JB Pritzker in the race for Illinois governor, but no matter who wins, I'm going to work with them to address the concerns of those who live in the 64th district.
9) Illinois is among the nation's top exporters of college students. How can the legislature help to make in-state universities more affordable and competitive?
We need to make secondary education more affordable, because when students leave this state for college, only 50 percent of them return. Then we're losing those people as potential business owners, surely as employees, and also as those who would contribute to the growth of our state financially. We also need to prioritize a balanced budget - I think it's hard to convince people to stay here when it looks like we are irresponsible and uncaring about our finances as a state. Finally, as part of the budget, if we can move the majority of school funding to come from Springfield, then we would see more people staying here for their higher learning.