Northbrook resident and Republican candidate for the 57th House district, Jonathan Greenberg, met a few community members at Caribou on Wednesday morning, and told voters — some of whom don't even live in the 57th — that he is more concerned with fiscal reform than conservative social policy.
"One thing the Republican caucus needs to focus on is fixing the budget and leave social issues on the back burner," Greenberg said.
The casual conversation was organized by Patch blogger Kati Spaniak. She asked Greenberg about his immediate plans, if elected, to "fix, vote or change what's affecting my family."
The candidate talked about the pension deficit and Illinois tax rates as some of the biggest threats to the state's prosperity, along with population and jobs decline.
"People are going to vote with their feet," Greenberg said. "[My kids] will go away for college and then I want them to come back here. They need jobs to come back to."
He blamed the 57th House district incumbent, Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) for some of the woes facing Illinois.
"There's a lot we can be doing in Springfield, but at the very least we can not be making it worse," Greenberg said. "Nekritz has voted for everything that's made this problem worse."
The Republican candidate shared his vision for a government overhaul that starts in Springfield and extends to local municipalities. He even talked about the need to amend part of the Illinois constitution.
Among legislative items Greenberg said he would propose in Springfield is a repeal of Article 13, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution, which binds the state to pension obligations the candidate says the state simply cannot afford.
"Our pension system can't continue," Greenberg said. "The whole thing sucks, it's not fixable without hurting someone and for the most part, these are people who did nothing wrong."
"I think it's very important that we aknowledge... the state lied," he added.
Likewise, Greenberg said he would propose legislation to repeal a 67 percent tax increase the state passed in 2011. A repeal Greenberg told the Chicago Tribune is necessary on principal since it was passed in a lame duck session. Greenberg was endorsed by the Tribune.
The candidate said he would also support a three year property tax freeze on the condition that local governments are reorganized, and in some cases, consolidated.
"Why doesn't the Village handle parks?" Greenberg said. "I think people in Illinois shrug their shoulders because they think this is the way it's always been. We're so corrupt and mismanaged."