Darren Bailey’s pitch: cut spending, taxes, the SAFE-T law

Bailey offered a surprise: He said the state needed to cut spending on elementary and secondary education, at one point suggesting that many children in areas of the state like his are headed for jobs military or factory and do not require the broadest curriculum mandated by state law.

Pritzker a day earlier offered his own surprise, pitching the idea of ​​a proposed $1 billion fund to lure major manufacturers to the state. Bailey has all but dismissed the idea, even though it is popular in some Republican-run states, saying Illinois can no longer afford such a move.

Bailey argued that under Pritzker the state budget grew from $32 billion a year to $46 billion, the gas tax went up to 90 cents a gallon more than in the neighboring states, and that the recovery from COVID-related job losses has faded more slowly than the nation or the rest of the Midwest.

A new state energy bill that increased costs further aggravated the situation, he continued. “Why would a company come here with our energy prices? »

Much of this increase was due to the receipt of federal COVID relief funds. Bailey’s family farm received $231,475 in cash, but the candidate defended himself from taking it, saying the only other option was to lay off 11 workers. Bailey noted that Crain Communications, Crain’s parent company, also received such a grant.

Bailey said his prescription to correct calls by the state government to cut taxes and spending via a 5% cap on annual spending hikes, zero-based budgeting and new supermajority voting for that the Legislative Assembly raise taxes. But when asked which programs would be on the block and facing the cuts, Bailey said he would leave that to his staff to develop, with real decisions hammered out in negotiations with a legislature that is all but certain to retain. a Democratic majority.

Bailey said his willingness to talk and negotiate with lawmakers would make him different from Pritzker or his predecessor Bruce Rauner, who had a “my way or the highway” style, according to him.

The only clue to where spending could be cut came when Bailey said the state “should spend less” on aid for elementary and secondary schools.

Pritzker, with some GOP support, increased this state spending, on the grounds that it reduces the disparity between children born in poor and wealthy neighborhoods. But money “isn’t the answer,” Bailey said, suggesting the state remove mandates that, among other things, require an expanded curriculum in all schools. Such an expensive term is unnecessary in areas such as southern Illinois, where many children after graduation head to coal mines and other blue-collar positions, said Bailey.

On crime, Bailey, as he has in recent weeks, lambasted Pritzker and called for the repeal of the SAFE-T law, which is phasing out the use of cash bail. Bailey acknowledged there were good provisions in the 600-page law, which among other things requires the use of police body cameras and sets out rules for the use of force. Those provisions could be reinstated during negotiations on a new law with lawmakers, Bailey said, adding “I’m open to discussing bail reform.”

As was her wont, Bailey would not detail her personal views on topics such as abortion rights, same-sex marriage, school prayer and the legal sale of cannabis products, saying that he wouldn’t have the power to change the existing law and that Pritzker is just trying to distract voters from his overall poor record. In response to questions, Bailey opposed a Florida-style law to regulate the teaching of sexuality in public schools — such matters should be decided by local districts, he said — and indicated that he would support immigration from Muslim countries as long as proper procedures and verification took place.

When asked what reassurance he offers voters who love his fiscal conservatism but fear his politics on social issues, Bailey replied, “I’ll tell you what I tell them: are you better off than there is? four years old? . Pritzker is deflecting issues like crime.”

Bailey said he did not believe Pritzker’s statement yesterday that he would not try to revive the proposed progressive income tax or increase other levies if the state slips into a recession.

“I don’t trust Pritzker for anything,” Bailey said. Despite campaign promises four years ago to cut property taxes, Pritzker has produced “nothing, no change,” Bailey said.