Position sought: Illinois State Representative, 78th District
Political party: Democrat
E-mail address: email@example.com
Campaign committee: Friends of Michael D. Nardello
Family: Married to Angie Nardello for 16 years. Children Louie, 12, Nikki, 11, and Mia, 7, all students at St. Giles School in Oak Park. Parents are Louis and Linda Nardello of Chicago's Galewood neighborhood. Has a brother, Nick, of River Forest.
Education: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Executive Education: John F. Kennedy School of Government Emphasis in Leadership for the 21st Century, received a fellowship in May 2007; DePaul University, Chicago, master of science: Management of Public Services
Emphasis in policy analysis, program evaluation, and research methodology, nominated by faculty to participate in the Presidential Management Internship Program in June 1992; DePaul University, Chicago, bachelors of science: Marketing Emphasis in service marketing and management, elected president of Phi Alpha Delta Pre Law in June 1990; Holy Cross High School, River Grove.
Occupation: Director of finance and administration for the city of Chicago's Department on Aging/Family and Support Services since May 1997.
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: Local School Council, May 1994-2007—Elected Sayre Language Academy Community Representative. Responsible for budgetary requests of all internal accounts, managing the schools improvement plan, addressing community concerns, and fund-raising events. Received LSC, community, and CPS support in transforming the first Chicago Magnet School into a Community First School; the event was reported on the front page Chicago Sun-Times, "Magnet Schools Makeover Begins," Jan. 21, 2002.
Galewood Montclare Community Organization, November 1999-2007—Vice-President. Responsible for the community outreach, editor and reporter for both the “Northwest Business Report” and “Education Report” quarterly newsletters covering community issues surrounding economic development and education. Responsible for meeting with the community regarding their concerns involving public safety and zoning. Responsible for managing fundraising events, setting the parameters of an economic study and the creation of a Northwest Business Committee, a subsidiary of the organization. Worked with the community on the development of the new Brickyard Mall. Responsible for reinvesting a $50,000 grant back into the community.
Italian American Political Coalition—Board member, 2002-2006.
Elected Secretary, 2005-2007. Board Member/Chairman of the Public Relations Committee.Active participant in candidate slating for the November 2002 election. Sub-committee member responsible for organizing a fundraising event honoring Italian-American elected officials hosted at the Illinois Governors Mansion.
Other relevant experience: Fiscal Indicators Committee, November 1995-August 1996—Sponsored by the Civic Federation in a partnership with DePaul University, as a member of an eight-member committee, the purpose of the project was to develop a summary list of indicators which present the essential characteristics of government's financial condition. A template was developed measuring the strengths and weaknesses of five Illinois County Comprehensive Financial Annual Reports. The template was then accepted and published by the Civic Federation and is currently being used by numerous cities and counties across the United States.
Capital Improvement Advisory Committee, June 1994-June 1995—Represented the city of Chicago as part of a 10-member committee appointed by the mayor in an effort to reestablish communication between Chicago residents, the business community, and City Hall regarding issues over capital and infrastructure needs.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
Top priorities for the district: Given the diversity of the district and economic disparity there are different concerns within the district’s communities. However, the common needs that I would make a priority are stable employment, affordable housing which includes addressing rising property taxes, economic development, infrastructure improvements and quality education.
But most importantly I will make equal access and a commitment to an open-door policy with regularly scheduled town hall meetings throughout the district a priority.
Top priorities for the state: Illinois clearly has a substantially growing debt as well as unfunded liabilities in the amount of more than $114 billion. Which continues to compound based on higher interest rate payments, leaving less money for important priorities such as capital infrastructure improvements, education and pension funding.
I am proposing a state of financial “Responsibility and Accountability.”
I would advocate for all districts to hold preliminary public budget hearings prior to budget approval. I would further support requiring the state to develop and implement a solid capital improvement plan. Our state needs to create and approve an annual 5-year Capital Improvement Plan, CIP (which includes: type of project, timelines, status of construction, mid-year expenditure report and funding source) before funds are appropriated. Again, holding capital improvement public hearings in each district should be requirement as a level of accountability to the citizens of Illinois. I am 100 percent committed to setting an example of accountability by holding both preliminary operating budget and CIP hearings throughout the 78th District along with establishing a Capital Improvement Advisory Council, which would include residents' and businesses' input into the process and design of the plan.
These are the types of transparency and accountability I am promoting as a candidate for Illinois State Representative in the 78th District.
Pension reform is yet another topic that I feel strongly about, especially given that much of our state’s pension liability is underfunded and in a financial crisis. This creates a heavy burden on the entire state financial situation; given the impact it has on the state’s ability to balance its budget. If we continue to fall behind in state rankings nationally and in economic growth we will become less desirable as a state in which people want to live and raise their families. We will not only face a situation of being bankrupt as a state society, but also, a situation where families, business and employers are fleeing Illinois into neighboring states that are more economically sound.
I firmly believe that giving taxpayers the tools to understand where and how their money is being spent will serve to make the state government more accountable whereby reducing waste, fraud, and abuse.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
Working in the Office of Budget and Management I was responsible for developing, managing and monitoring the Annual and Mid Year Capital Improvement Plan while maintaining a positive working relationship the community, city council and Capital Improvement Advisory Committee board for approval of the plan. The challenge I face as director of finance for social service is to provide much needed services, yet adhere to a tight budget. This requires a skill set that includes strategic financial planning, in-depth analysis of cost accounting procedures and a genuine ability to think outside the box for a solution that provides for a continuation of much needed services yet stay well within budget perimeters.
I bring a fresh and business approach to decision making and funding. I know how to access a program and evaluate its measurable output. Based on merit, I can propose viable solutions from different perspectives rather than a business as usual case scenario which we have become all to accustom to in Illinois.
Since I seeking election rather than being appointed to the 78th District State Representative seat I am not obligated to any one person, but rather, to the residents of the district as a whole.
As a local business owner, I know how important it is to support small businesses with a solid economic development plan, especially in our transit oriented communities. As a father and husband I know how valuable a child’s education is and how important it is to have a steady income that can support a family.
What should first be done by the state to keep businesses that have strongly voiced the possibility of leaving, such as CME and Sears?
Create policies and tax credits:
Short-term, subsidies to employers to hire new workers, focusing on hiring the recently unemployed, (“hiring credits”) as incentives for new hires rather than just increasing existing employee work hours. This in turn will help to increase the demand for labor. Long-term, subsidies to individuals to enter the labor market (“worker subsidies”) in the form of a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) thus increasing the supply for labor.
It’s a double-edged sword, in one respect if you don’t offer tax relief to major corporations to stay you lose Illinois jobs to other states. On the other hand, you place a heavy burden on the states revenues. With states desperately competing for jobs and major employers we as a nation do not benefit from an overall increase in employment. Robbing from Peter to pay Paul is not the long-term solution for increasing employment in America. We need to focus on incenting companies to come up with new products and services that can have a global impact and create new jobs in areas such as information technology and biotech or medical devices.
Offer subsidies that would include clauses that require wage standards, actual new job creation, prohibiting employers from shifting workers from an existing facility/location to another as “new jobs,” job training that creates a more qualified work force making individuals more employable in the future, should a company choose to relocate and requirements regarding the length of commitment to staying in Illinois/and or particular county.
Long-term, I would propose that tax credits be supplemented with federal funds, (utilizing federal unemployment taxes that would be saved) thus, reducing the cost to a state to retain jobs and ultimately leveling the playing field among competing states to lure major employers away.
I would also support a requirement that employers receiving tax credits would be required to provide health insurance, job training initiatives with local colleges, participate in college internships-promoting higher education in Illinois and provide English as a second language courses. All of which would promote a stronger workforce, more desirable jobs and raise the standard of living in Illinois.
What can be done to help College Illinois?
Transparency on how the money is invested, i.e. making investment decisions public and quarterly monitoring by an independent group that publically reports the funding levels to ensure they are adequate.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
Focus spending on infrastructure; corporate tax cuts; individual income tax cuts; and spending cuts to reduce the deficit.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
My view is based on equality, that by denying same-sex couples legal access to marriage and all of its intended benefits represent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Based solely on marital status, not on civil union status, couples have the benefit of leaving to care for an ill spouse, social security survivor benefits and spousal benefits, and the right not to testify against one’s spouse.
I am pro-choice and believe in a woman’s right to choose.
Do you support a gaming bill that would increase the number of casinos or other gambling venues in Illinois? Should a casino be built in Chicago?
I would support socially responsible gaming as a voluntarily contribution(s) to the state’s revenue pool. I would also support an expansion in Illinois gaming to include the city of Chicago to promote tourism as well as the city’s ability to attract out-of-state convention business that would support the existing city convention sites, hotels, restaurants and the huge hospitality industry that supports a large workforce within the city. The gaming industry with a high level of accountability, can potentially positively impact jobs, sales tax revenue and out-of-state funding for important initiatives such as education.
What do you suggest for property tax relief?
I agree with the Civic Federation’s Assessment and Recommendations.
Cook County real estate is assessed based on estimated market value, which can be benchmarked against sales of similar properties. However, in Cook County property taxes are also subject to numerous exemptions and incentive classes that dilute its worth as a tax according to value, also known as “ad valorem.” Illinois statute authorizes ten homestead exemptions for various populations including senior citizens, the disabled and veterans. The total value of homestead exemptions in Cook County more than doubled between tax year 1999 and tax year 2008, removing a full 12.6% of equalized assessed value (EAV) from taxation in 2008. Because property taxes in Cook County are a zero-sum game, tax relief provided to one property owner must be paid for by all other owners.
Property tax reforms should therefore include reducing or limiting homestead exemptions in favor of a means-tested, state-level circuit breaker. Such a program would protect low income residents from significant increases in the market value of their homes without increasing taxes for all other taxpayers. Incentive classes created to encourage redevelopment of real estate should also be reduced or limited in favor of other economic development programs such as tax increment financing (TIF). The 5 percent of property parcels in Cook County that are exempt from property taxation should also be examined. Any charitable property tax exemption should be very narrowly applied to those institutions that provide measurable public benefits.
There are negative aspects of the Cook County property tax system for which the report suggests improvements. First and foremost, the system is excessively complex and very difficult for ordinary taxpayers to understand. Legislators and officials have piled on special treatments and revenue limitations, rendering the system so intricate that it takes years of study to understand. Taxing agencies also find it difficult to forecast their revenue and taxpayers cannot predict their tax bills. Public and private sector resources that would be better applied elsewhere are spent on deciphering, defending and appealing various elements of the property tax system.
The report contains several recommendations to make the Cook County property tax system simpler. The responsibility for property tax administration is primarily handled by three different elected officials, which dilutes accountability and leads to taxpayer confusion about whom to contact with questions and complaints. The Federation recommends that an appointed, unified property tax administration office be created that would merge the Treasurer’s office, the County Clerk’s tax extension, tax redemption and map divisions, the part of the Recorder’s office that deals with property records and the Auditor’s property tax functions. Creating this office would require a county referendum and we urge Cook County officials to pursue this reform.
Another reform that would reduce the administrative burden of the property tax would be to reduce the number of local governments. There are 498 separate local governments that levy property taxes in Cook County and over 1300 separate taxing agencies for which tax rates must be calculated. Consolidation of local taxing bodies should be a priority for property tax reform efforts.
One of the often-cited downsides of the property tax as a funding source for education is that it leads to inequality between districts with high property wealth and districts with low property wealth. Such disparities are behind recent initiatives to “swap” the property tax for other revenue sources to fund education.
Should the state consider consolidating school districts? What would be the best way to accomplish this in your legislative district?
No, not at this time, I would want to see the results of Classrooms First Commission, which is studying the issue and potential cost savings to the state before mandating a consolidation of all 870 school districts. Given that the Illinois Board of Education is claiming that the $100 million in proposed cost savings by Governor Quinn comes at a cost of $3.7 billion over four years to merge all of Illinois' high school-only and elementary-only school districts.
Should the state legalize marijuana?
Are there ways to reform the legislative scholarship program, or would you support calls to eliminate the program?
Since it is more of a tuition waiver program than a scholarship program based on need or merit and no standardized process or criterion for selection, I would vote to eliminate the program.
Who are your political heroes and why?
John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy for their stance on civil rights.
Abraham Lincoln for preserving the union.
Franklin D. Roosevelt for New Deal and Social Security.
Barrack Obama for his courage to break down the race barrier, as the first African American elected as president of the United States.
Andrew Johnson for his reconstruction efforts after the Civil War.
Nelson Mandela for unifying South Africa.
Susan B. Anthony for her efforts in the suffragist movement.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.
No to all of the above.