Illinois Governor Candidate (D) JB Pritzker on the issues

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Question 1. What was your very first job?
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Like many parents, mine wanted me to start out with a challenging first job. So at age 14, I got a job picking up and cleaning the dirty sheets at their motel.

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Question 2. IF elected and IF you only got one thing accomplished in your tenure, what do you hope that is and how do you plan to make it happen?
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The most important issue facing Illinois is the failure to address the state's poor fiscal condition, which has been exacerbated under Bruce Rauner's manufactured two-year budget crisis. To address these challenges, I'll work with the legislature and stakeholders to pass a balanced, forward thinking budget that prioritizes job creation, expanding healthcare coverage, and quality, equitable public education so that every Illinois family has the tools they need to build better lives.

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Question 3. Give a scenario outside of politics that sheds light on how you will be able to get things done in office.
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For over a decade, I led efforts to transform Chicago's tech economy, culminating with the founding of 1871, a non-profit small business incubator responsible for creating over 7,000 tech jobs in Illinois. 1871 has now been rated the number one business incubator in the world, and Chicago is now ranked among the top tech startup hubs in the world. I brought community leaders and stakeholders together, provided vision, and found common ground to create thousands of jobs and hundreds of companies.

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Question 4. What compromises are you willing to make to make sure a budget stalemate doesn't happen again?
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In three years, Bruce Rauner hasn't proposed a balanced budget once. To address the state's fiscal challenges, I will propose a forward-thinking balanced budget that prioritizes job creation, expanded healthcare coverage, and public education and will work with the legislature and stakeholders to get it passed. Both expenditures and revenues will always be discussed, but we must also focus on job creation. Economic growth and job creation will bring much needed revenue without raising taxes.

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Question 5. How does the state make up the payments to social services/schools, etc. from the last budget stalemate?
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Bruce Rauner manufactured a 736-day budget crisis blocking critical investments in higher education, human services, and economic development in some of our most economically challenged communities. I will propose a forward-thinking balanced budget that prioritizes job creation, expanded healthcare coverage, social services, and quality, equitable, public education and I will work with the legislature and stakeholders to get it passed.

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Question 6. How should the state continue to pay for the rising pension costs of public workers?
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There are several plans that have been proposed to address our ongoing pension challenges. One of the more sensible ones would bump up current payments while leveling out the amortization schedule, allowing future state budgeting to be more manageable. We shouldn't focus on assigning blame - there's a lot to go around to both political parties for decades. But failing to act is not an option. We have to step up and do what's right for the future of our state budget and our retirees.

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Question 7. Where do you stand on medical marijuana legalization? Recreational marijuana legalization?
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I support legalizing and taxing recreational use of marijuana, which is estimated to help generate as much as $700 million a year for the state. As we legalize marijuana, we need to reinvest in the communities that have been hit hardest by the war on drugs and the legacy of mass incarceration. We must also be intentional about including people of color in the development and ownership of dispensaries and production facilities in this new industry.

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Question 8. What kind of tax plan do you support and what yield would it have?
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Middle class families are hurting and we should lower their tax burden. I support a progressive income tax, which will allow us to increase school funding and decrease our reliance on property taxes to fund our schools. But the best way to increase state revenue is to grow jobs and economic activity, which is an important focus of my campaign and something I have done. As we seek to balance revenue and expenditures of the state's budget, growth is an important component that is often overlooked.

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Question 9. Do you support term limits for legislators/governors?
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I would sign a bill to limit terms for legislative leaders.

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Question 10. Tell us one thing on an issue you think the opposing party got right?
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I support using an independent commission to draw legislative maps so that races are more competitive and voters actually have choices to make in their local elections.

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Question 11. As the conversation continues nationally about school safety and gun control, what would you propose to make sure our schools are even safer for all students in Illinois?
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This week, state legislators in Springfield voted on a bipartisan package of bills that will put new laws in place to prevent gun violence in Illinois. These bills create common sense safety requirements for gun dealers, ban the sale of high capacity magazines and bump stocks, and give families tools they need to protect loved ones in mental crisis who pose a danger to themselves or others. They are a strong step in the right direction to make our state safer.

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Question 12. Where do you plan to look first in curbing gun violence?
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In order to make our communities safer, real change needs to occur when it comes to gun violence. I have a plan to increase firearm safety, work to rebuild healthy communities, and treat gun violence as what it is - a public health epidemic. Bruce Rauner has failed as governor to take action that would create resilient communities; his budget crisis decimated funding for violence prevention, after school programs, and mental health services.