State Representative Allen Skillicorn was elected to his first term in the Illinois House of Representatives last November, defeating Democrat Nancy Zettler in a race that was a key hold for Republicans seeking to break the Democratic supermajority in the State House. Representative Skillicorn now represents the 66th Representative District. Skillicorn ran as a “Real Deal Reformer,” and promised to fight for lower taxes, jobs, and government reform. Illinois Conservatives reached out to Representative Skillicorn as part of our interview series of conservative leaders in Illinois. The interview is presented below.
Q. What is your position on the “Grand Compromise” being discussed in the State Senate?
A. First, I cannot and will not support a tax hike without SIGNIFICANT reforms. Illinois spends too much on pensions and Medicaid. Illinois’ economy is shackled by high workers compensation costs and restrictive employment regulations. We need reforms far more than additional revenue to waste on inefficient government. Second, this Grand Compromise doesn’t even balance the budget for a few years. I took an oath to uphold the Illinois Constitution, that Constitution requires a balanced budget. Every Senator that supports this is violating the Constitution.
Q. If your position is “For” what are the attractive aspects? If “Against” what are the non-starters for you and what would you fight for as a necessary part of any compromise?
A. Against – Higher taxes, lack of real reform. Even the property tax freeze includes loopholes that allow taxing bodies to continue violating the intent of the tax cap law.
Q. What are your goals to accomplish during your first term in office?
A. I am optimistic that other reformers and I can pass some legislation, but more importantly transform the narrative of the Republican Caucus. Too many times in the past decade Republicans have been content to take the scraps left out from Madigan. We need to challenge the bad policies on every front and in every committee hearing. We also must challenge our own leadership when necessary. There are already some great conservative leaders like Representatives Ives, Morrison, McSweeney, Batinick, and others. We need to expand this Conservative Caucus every cycle going forward.
Q. Do you believe that State Legislatures deserve a pension?
A. Hell NO! No government employee or politician should get special treatment different from their private sector constituents. All politicians should use self-directed defined contribution retirement plans like the private sector uses. Part time politicians like county board or township trustees should never receive any pension.
Q. What does being a conservative mean to you?
A. The modern definition should be to follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution and free market capitalism. How would George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or Ronald Reagan define to role and scope of government? Milton Friedman would call this a Classical Liberal position, William F. Buckley could use the term Paleo-Conservative. I would use the term Constitutional Conservative. We should be reminded of Barry Goldwater’s quote, “A Conservative looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of the social order.”
Q. How do you believe we should fix the workers compensation mess in Illinois?
A. First, we need to repeal former Governor Blagojevich’s sweetener legislation from 2005. Twelve years ago, Illinois was middle of the pack for Worker’s Comp costs. Twenty-four months after passing that sweetener law, Illinois was the 4th highest in the nation according to a study from the University of Oregon. Second, we need a strict causation standard preventing non-workplace injury abuse. Literally one suburban village has a public employee on permanent disability from a Jet Ski accident. I’m not making this stuff up.
Q. Do you support the bill currently in the State Senate (SB50) that would legalize the use
of suppressors in Illinois, as well as provide for some new aspects of gun control?
A. I fully support the use and sale of suppressors for hearing protection. Currently the federal government regulates suppressors and even taxes them. There is no reasonable excuse why Illinois needs to ban them.
Q. What is your position on term limits for Illinois State Legislators?
A. I support term limits and have introduced legislation to put the question on the ballot.
Q. You just filed a bill (HB501) that would allow Illinois municipalities to file under Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. What are the key advantages and what are the chances this bill will get out of committee and be voted on?
A. Some local taxing bodies like Chicago Public Schools are in such poor fiscal position, and they will never recover without massive tax hikes or Chapter 9 bankruptcy. My intention is to let the courts decide, without political restrictions, if collective bargaining agreements, pensions, and other contracts will be renegotiated to benefit the taxpayers. Detroit was saved by Chapter 9 and I believe many Illinois municipalities are in a similar situation.
By: Connor Kaeb