Election 2024 Questionnaire: Li Arellano Jr., State Senate District 37

Election 2024
Dixon Mayor Li Arellano Jr. gavels the City Council into session for the final time as his term of office ends Monday, May 1, 2023.

Li Arellano Jr., a candidate for Illinois State Senate District 37 in the March primary election, answered these questions from the Shaw Local News Network.

Full Name: Li Arellano Jr.

What office are you seeking? State Senate, 37th District

What public offices, if any, have you previously held? Mayor of Dixon for two terms from 2015 to 2023

City: Dixon

Occupation: Small businessman; Army Reservist

Campaign website: www.ArellanoForSenate.com

Considering the increasing influx of migrants to Illinois, how do you propose the state should address the challenges?

First, by repealing the “Trust Act” which made Illinois a Sanctuary state. It is clear that was thoughtless virtue signaling. The State as well as Chicago took action for which they had no plans and no resources to deal with. It was fake empathy, and has only enriched the cartels, enabled human and drug traffickers, and exacerbated humanitarian issues in Illinois. Those issues are personal for me, and I am going to fight back relentlessly.

It is essential that local, state and federal law enforcement fully cooperate seamlessly. It’s a breakdown of government when two levels of law enforcement are ordered by state and local politicians not to cooperate with federal law enforcement.

Next, we must remove taxpayer-funded incentives. There is an old axiom about fundamental human nature that liberals always try to escape, but from which there is no escape. That is: if you reward or subsidize something – you get more of it.

When Joe Biden signed executive orders on his first day in office ordering the halt to continued construction of the border wall, his words signaled that the border was open; millions then started the perilous journey. On February 12, 2024, the Washington Post reported that on Joe Biden’s first day in office he ordered a pause in arrests and deportations. Word quickly spread around the world that illegal immigrants into the USA would be briefly detained, given aid that many American’s don’t receive from our government, and then released with court appearances scheduled many years from when they entered.

When the government incentivizes illegal immigrants, gives them cash or debit cards, free phones, free medical care, free education, free housing and more – many things that our government doesn’t provide to our own citizens – then of course we are going to get a deluge of illegal immigration. Mayors and governors from Sanctuary Cities and States are screaming about Chicago getting 40,000 and New York getting 140,000, with Mayor Eric Adams saying it “will destroy New York City.”

The fact is that Democrats who virtue signal about compassion have no plan to deal with the number of illegals here now, let alone another 8 to 10 million.

Finally, the way to deal with poverty around the world and alleviate suffering is to convince socialist countries that socialism has never worked in the history of humankind in any time period, any geography, any climate, and among any race, religion or ethnicity. Educated people should know that socialism never works. Ask yourself, where are the hordes of people from capitalist countries trekking to enter socialist countries? There never seem to be any.

What are the top issues facing your district and what would you like to do to address those issues?

We need to keep illegal immigrants from being shipped by Chicago and our State on behalf of Chicago to small towns and rural communities. The public is livid about this issue. I’ve addressed illegal immigration in another question here in detail.

In another I address high taxes and spending – overtaxation is a massive issue.

Inflation is another giant concern but is largely a federal government creation with Joe Biden suddenly spending trillions more than before. You cannot increase the supply of money radically without suffering massive inflationary impact. At the state level, over regulation and high debt levels are aggravating inflation.

One thing that should be done is to revoke Illinois’ doubling of the gasoline tax and 18 other taxes that were hiked in 2019 under Governor Pritzker, with the gas tax provision indexed to rise automatically every year. That is painful for hard-working taxpayers and seniors on fixed incomes, but not even noticed by the wealthy.

The other thing is to fight Governor Pritzker’s and legislative Democrat’s purposeful doubling of electric rates for both consumers and businesses between June 2021 and June 2022. They rushed to shut down fossil fuel power generating plants to virtue signal about being greener and more woke than California – seemingly so JB Pritzker can position himself for president. Our state was not ready for that and that rush is a horrendous burden on people and businesses.

If there was one bill that you could get through the legislature next year, what would it be?

To restrict the growth of state government spending to the average rate of growth of household incomes in Illinois, packaged together with a true Illinois debt repayment plan. We need hope for the future in Illinois!

If there was one recently passed law you could repeal, what would it be?

To repeal the “SAFE-T Act.” Most people are aware that it pushed Illinois to be the first state in the country to eliminate cash bail. What they don’t know is that it was also a back-door way to defund the police. The legislation tremendously increased burdensome reporting regulations on police and sheriff’s departments. Many had to pull officers and deputies off patrols and into offices to fulfill new state bureaucratic reports. It also places massive new unfunded mandates on local law enforcement, among other bad ideas.

This act also was part of decimating the recruiting pools of people applying for law enforcement positions. It was seen as anti-law enforcement. Whereas 30 years ago there were thousands of people applying for handfuls of law enforcement jobs, now there are thousands of unfilled law enforcement positions. The bill has been a disaster for people’s safety.

Do you support term limits? If yes, why and what would they look like? And if no, why not?

I fervently believe in term limits for the State Legislature. I walked the walk on them on term limits. I was elected and reelected mayor of Dixon with around 64 percent of the vote. I did not run on term limits but soon after my reelection as Dixon mayor I announced publicly that I was term limiting myself to two terms in office. I believe Illinois should have a cap on the number of years a state legislator can serve in a position. It needs to be long enough that bureaucrats and lobbyists do not have all the influence, but short enough that they aren’t spending decades losing themselves in influence games. We certainly cannot allow multiple decades for state legislators.

Taxes are a top concern of Illinois voters. What do you think the underlying issues are and how would you propose addressing them?

The reason Illinois has passed four state income tax increases since 2010 and 22 taxes overall in that time period is that Illinois Democrats have an insatiable appetite for radically higher spending.

Every dollar spent is a dollar taxed sooner or later.

Every one of those state income taxes was sold to the people that if it was passed, the new tax revenue would “fix our budget problems once and for all.” But every single time the new revenue was used by legislative Democrats to increase state spending.

A prime example was the “progressive” or “graduated” income tax referendum of 2020. Governor Pritzker and House and Senate Democrats said again that it would “fix our state’s budget problems once and for all.” It was defeated. But in the veto session later that same November, legislative Democrats pushed hard for new state spending that totaled more than their projections of what that tax hike referendum was estimated to bring in.

If people want lower taxes in Illinois, they need to elect more Republicans to the House and Senate along with a conservative, fiscally responsible governor. Rapidly rising state spending and tax levels are but one of the problems caused by total one-party control by Democrats of state government. We need to reinvigorate the tried-and-true two-party system in Illinois.

What are three things the state legislature could do to promote better fiscal responsibility within state government?

1. Stop the addiction to radical increases in state spending that is so much more than the growth of average household budgets. Stop allowing bills to pass regardless of the fact that most have no cost projections.

Ask yourself, how can Florida and Texas have no state income tax but Illinois has the highest or second highest overall tax burden in the nation? What do we get in state services that residents of Florida and Texas don’t get from their states? The answer is nothing.

2. Adopt and execute a serious debt repayment plan in Illinois.

3. Pass true ethics reform. Illinois is rated as the most corrupt state behind only Louisiana. That has massive financial costs – the corruption tax was very real in Dixon, and it is very real in Illinois.

Do you support the Illinois gun ban? Why or why not? Please be specific.

I oppose Illinois’ gun ban. The Constitution is the highest law in the land and its Second Amendment is part of that. It can be changed but gun ban proponents have not come close to what it takes to amend the constitution. Until then we shouldn’t be picking and choosing which parts of the constitution are able to be ignored.

CNN reported on June 2, 2022, that there were 393 million guns in this country. Even if manufacturers stop selling guns there will still be a lot of guns – criminals will always have all the guns they want. Gun restrictions or bans only affect law-abiding people.

Citizens have the right to defend themselves. Defund the police movements have caused law enforcement shortages either from budget cuts or because many left the profession. Police have to make split-second decisions to defend their lives, but politicians are not supporting them. Police in far too many cities either no longer respond to many types of calls for help, or take far too long to get there. Just a few days ago it was reported that Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police will no longer respond to burglary calls.

These anti-police movements have caused a spike in crime and lawlessness that have resulted in far more people who didn’t own guns before – particularly women – buying guns for personal protection.

What is your opinion of the role of tax incentives in economic development and business growth? Should tax incentives be offered to corporations to entice them to plant roots in local communities? Why or why not?

Start-up incentives that are equally available – such as enterprise zones – can be a very powerful and fair tool to help bring in new businesses or grow existing ones. Likewise, anchor projects can be incentivized as long as they are competitive and available to any interested development groups.

Any incentives that are not equally available, though, either should not happen or should have a much higher bar to cross in order to implement.

Illinois needs to address its underlying problems – overregulation, massive debt levels and overspending that has caused us to have the No. 2 highest property taxes in the nation (behind only New Jersey) and a massive overall tax burden.

We need a better business climate; that would be the best incentive.

How would you classify the state of public health in your district? Do you believe access to affordable healthcare is an issue? Why or why not? If you believe it’s an issue, what ideas do you have to remedy it?

We have two hospitals that closed in the past year and a half just barely outside of our State Senate district – Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru and St. Margaret’s in Spring Valley. One factor is the federal and state governments not understanding rural health care and not reimbursing them adequately for Medicare and Medicaid patient treatment. Hospitals are now forced to lose money on treating many patients and those reimbursement rates need to be priced more fairly. It’s a tragedy because a large number of people now have to travel almost an hour away for ER or OB services, and that has definitely affected our region.

We also need to a do a better job and training and recruiting rural doctors.

Finally, this is also yet another example of where relieving Illinois of its massive debt would make an equally massive positive difference – Illinois simply has been too broke to properly address rural health care needs. That is the story for far too many of Illinois’ needs.