WHEATON - Dubbed by some of her Illinois House colleagues as tough, independent and more stubborn than cooperative, State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) - who is also running for governor - says she really doesn't care what her colleagues say about her.
Ives says she has a deeply-held motivation for what she does in Springfield and intends to stick with it during the next three months leading up to March 20 - Illinois' 2018 Republican Primary Election Day.
And why is Ives not in contention for the House's Miss GOP Congeniality?
"I have a heart for Illinois taxpayers." Ives says she sees everything through taxpayers' eyes - how a public policy will affect them and their hard-earned dollars.
Governor Bruce Rauner's challenger in the March 20, 2018 GOP primary says her main priority as a candidate is to let voters from one end of Illinois to the other know that how public policy affects their bank accounts matters.
Even before being elected to represent DuPage's 42nd House District in 2012, Ives entered local politics when the Wheaton City Council tried to raise its sales tax. "It affected our family, and that was enough to run for city council," she said.
Since becoming a member of the Illinois House, Ives has proposed bill after bill that hit a brick wall set up by Illinois' Democrat Party chairman and longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan. She's pointed out a need for county assessors to update their property values records.
In public testimony last summer, downstate superintendent Gary Kelly of Du Quoin Community Unit School District 300 told the Illinois House Education Appropriations Committee Ives serves on that the property in his Perry County district had not been reassessed “in decades.”
“It was shocking to hear a veteran school superintendent (Kelly started at Du Quoin in 1993) so casually suggest that his county is willfully ignoring state law,” Ives said at the time in a press release. “Property reassessments must be done by law a minimum of every four years. The law is clear.”
Ives found that the last Perry County property reassessment was conducted in 1982. She also found that lack of reassessment was a statewide problem.
“If we are going to fix the school funding formula, it is imperative that we also fix the assessment system upon which the school funding formula depends,” added Ives. “School funding across the state will continue to be inequitable and unfair until we deal with this issue.”
During the recent debate over whether Illinois should resume collecting a higher rate of income taxes - 32 percent hike for personal income and 33 percent for business income - Ives said although Governor Rauner vetoed the measure that was finally overridden, he had conveyed to several Republican House members that he supported a tax hike. He left them with the impression that he would cover for them if they voted yes on the tax hike.
"Fifteen House Republicans supported the tax hike," Ives said. "It was wrong for them to do that."
Ives' concern for the state's taxpayers is part of why she opposes unfunded public school mandates, higher pension costs, more expensive health care subsidies. She also opposed taxpayer funding of abortion because it would force hardworking Illinoisans to pay more and cause the state's debt to increase.
"So much of what we do in Springfield is based on emotion, not reason," Ives said. "I may come across as cold-hearted and mean when I speak out against programs that make people feel good, but I really do have a heart. It's a heart for those paying for all these programs - the taxpayers. We should represent them."
More on Illinois Review's recent interview with Ives in the coming days.