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View Sample Pages : Alton Telegraph, November 01, 1996

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - November 1, 1996, Alton, Illinois ■ ■ = Shimkus and Hoffman split on how to reduce deficit THE TELEGRAPH ELECTION ’96 By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT Telegraph staff writer_ The race to succeed U.S. Rep. Richard Durbin pits two candidates trying to out-deficit each other. Republican John Shimkus is a defender of supply-side economics as a means to cut the deficit The theory holds that by cutting taxes and regulation, government revenue will grow through growth in the economy. “It’s not a theory; it’s a fact,” he said. His opponent, Democrat Jay Hoffman, said, ‘Tthink first of all, we have to balance the budget, but the question is how to balance the budget” Hoffman and Shimkus are seeking the seat in the U.S. House from the 20th Congressional District, formerly held by Durbin, D-Springfield, who is running for U.S. Senate. Shimkus said the problem with the budget approach in the 1980s under President Reagan is that taxes were cut, but spending grew and the result was the tremendous federal deficit. He would support an across-the-board tax cut as proposed by presidential candidate Bob Dole but would be open to negotiating how much. ‘‘Balancing the federal budget is, by far, the most important job that has to be done,” he said. “By doing that, interest rates will fall by two percentage points, which means lower house payments, lower car payments and a stronger economy.” If the government can reduce the debt, and therefore, interest, more money can be freed up for spending on government services, he said. On the other side of the ledger, Shimkus proposes drastically reducing spending by eliminating entire federal departments, namely the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy and a large chunk of the Department of Education. State employee challenging incumbent Hannig in 98th race By TOM WRAUSMANN Telegraph staff writer_ A 26-year-old state employee is taking on 18-year incumbent state Rep. Gary Hannig, a Democrat, for the 98th Illinois House District seat. Rodney Davis, the Republican nominee, is on a paid leave of absence from his job with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office in order to run his campaign. Davis has been a precinct committeeman for Christian County since 1992. Davis said his top priorities are jobs and education, which he believes are intertwined. “Quality education is the key to getting a good job,” he said. “Too many kids graduate who can’t read a diploma.” He said the state needs to find a long-term solution for better school funding. Davis is also developing a comprehensive jobs plan to attract businesses and employees to the district The marketing plan would be put on the Internet and on paper letting people know what the district has to offer, he said. “I’ve seen too many of my friends have to go away to get good jobs,” he said. “Until we market what we have it is not going to sell.” Hannig, an assistant Democratic leader in the state House of Representatives, said he will continue to be a strong voice in the General Assembly for downstate residents. “I’m also proud that I’ve never missed a day in session,” he said. “Someone recently said I’ve got my own Cal Ripken record going.” He said he is also proud of his work, along with state Sen. Vince Demuzio, D-Carlinville, and others, to help pass legislation allowing utility companies like Commonwealth Edison to get involved in private investments. He said this helped the utility company contribute to getting a new fertilizer plant built in Macoupin County using coal from area mines. “Its hard to get a contract now with the federal Clean Air Act,” he said. COGA Industries L.L.C. of Chicago plans to complete the plant near Girard within a few years. Monsanto Enviro-Chem of St. Louis recently signed a contract to construct the $950 million facility. He said he also worked hard to get a vocational training center built in Gillespie for hands-on vocational training such as plumbing and electrical skills and computer classes. Hannig said he also Frl., Nov, 1,1996    3Campaign EQU A 20th Congressional Seat ★ “There is a credible argument that the Department of Commerce does nothing but cost us money. The Department of Energy has no major role,” he said. Congress has cut defense spending in the wrong way, eliminating needed personnel and programs and keeping expensive defense contracts that the military did not ask for but which are of political benefit to members of Congress, he said. Shimkus is serving his second term as Madison County Treasurer. Before that, he was a teacher at Metro East Lutheran High School and an officer in the Army. He lists among his other positions on federal issues: support of line item veto, against gun control, against sending troops to Bosnia, supports 12-year maximum for both Senate and House and against federal benefits to illegal aliens. Hoffman, a lawyer and three-term state representative, said the Jay Hoffman John Shimkus Aga: 34 Hometown: Collinsville Education: bachelor's degree, Illinois State University; juris doctor, St. Louis University Family: wife Laurie, two daughters Years In elected office: six Age: 38 Hometown: Collinsville Education, bachelor's degree, West Point; teaching certificate, Christ College, Irvine, Calif. Family: wife Karen, two sons Years In elected office: seven Republican economic arguments won’t fly. “I want to cut taxes, but the problem with supply side economics and the trickle-down theory is that it increased the deficit by two or three times,” Hoffman said. Rather than an across-the-board tax cut, he would target tax cuts to the people that need it most He accused Republicans, including Shimkus, of trying to balance the budget on the The Telegraph backs of middle-class families and the poor. The Republican agenda, he said, would cut student loans, Medicare, Medicaid and drug-free education while cutting taxes by $11,000 for individuals who make $200,000 a year. He would cut spending by reducing pork barrel military spending. He specifically mentioned the Shimkus-supported B-2 bomber. it 98th Representative District ★ Gary Hannig Rodney Davis Age: 44 Hometown: Litchfield Education: bachelor's degree, University of Illinois Family: wife Betsy Years in elected office: 18 Age: 26 Hometown: Taylorville Education: bachelor's degree, Milliken University Family: wife Shannon Years in elected office: newcomer helped bring a learning center to Litchfield that offers courses through Lincoln Land Community College, based in Springfield. “I’d also like to see the state put together a program to fund schools at the level they deserve,” he said. He said Republicans in the The Telegraph General Assembly proposed flat grants that would not be good for downstate schools. “They would be good for the wealthier school districts but bad for the relatively poor ones downstate," he said. “We shouldn’t send $140 million to wealthy schools at our (Downstate’s) expense.” ;