With the recent tax increase, Illinois avoided a rating of junk status. However, the State of Illinois does not have the ability to fund the current and future pensions without a tax increase. Without a solution to bring in more revenue, the future of saving the pensions is poor. I have a plan to bring in revenue that can be used for the pension deficit, as well as tourism, mental health and education. The legalization of recreational marijuana, at an organic level as opposed to a medical level, will bring in the additional revenue need to offset the state’s deficit. With high tax burden, high workmen’s comp. rates and high property taxes, businesses are not moving into Illinois, they are exiting.

Education funding would consist of increasing school electives such as agriculture, band, choir, art, and drama. Vocational training such as building trades, electricians, plumbing, computer technicians and automotive and motorcycle repair and maintenance should also be included.

Mental health funding would consist of providing adequate, community based care. Medical health providers have not received an increase in rates in over 10 years. Several programs have been suspended and staff layoffs have occurred. With the cutbacks in mental health funding, the state is shelling out more money to treat these individuals in prisons, jails and hospital emergency rooms. Providing adequate, community based care is more cost effective than incarceration and emergency room treatment. I would like to see funding put back into mental health programs so they can get the proper treatment they deserve.