Election 2024 Questionnaire: Chris Balkema, Illinois Senate District 53

Election 2024
Chris Balkema

Chris Balkema, a candidate for Illinois State Senate District 53 in the March primary election, answered these questions from the Shaw Local News Network.

Full Name: Chris Balkema

What office are you seeking? Illinois State Senate District 53

What public offices, if any, have you previously held? Minooka School Board, Grundy County Board

City: Channahon

Occupation: Caterpillar Management & Grundy County Board Chairman

Campaign website: www.chrisbalkema.com

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

We passed a resolution to make Grundy County a Non-Sanctuary County and put signs out to inform bus drivers along the interstate. Illinois needs to become a Non-Sanctuary State.

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

1) Increased cost of living – In Grundy County, we reduced the actual tax levy 4 years in a row. We did this through efficiency improvements in the county. We need to reduce costs and improve efficiency at the state level. We need to set a goal to reduce the overall budget by 15%

2) Illegal Immigration – as stated above, we need to make Illinois a Non-Sanctuary State.

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

1) Property tax reform – we need to catch up to the other states in the Midwest. We have higher property taxes than our peers.

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

2) The Safety Act needs to be walked back.

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

Yes, I support term limits. It is good for government and good for the people to have limited time in office.

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

As listed above, we need property tax reform and we need to drive efficiency improvements while improving levels of customer service along the way. There great opportunity to reduce expenses, in Illinois, and there can be bi-partisan support in multiple areas to make improvements.

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

1) Establish cost reduction goals with efficiency improvements tied to the performance factors.

2) Utilize areas of cost improvements where we have bi-partisan support. State departments and offices have layers of mandates and inefficient processes. There can be opportunity improvements that both sides of the aisle would support.

3) Increase revenue opportunities by attracting more business growth and development in the state. The Intersect Illinois, the Chamber as well as many other agencies and lobbying groups could come together to suggest changes for updated state codes that could make Illinoise more attractive for business development and growth.

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

I adhere to the First and Second Amendment rights that are listed in the constitution. I do not support the restriction of these rights. We need to help our society with the root causes of the problems that are causing the pain amongst our residents. Restricting guns further for the law abiding citizens does not help reduce the crime / pain that we are feeling.

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?

Tax incentives work and they attract businesses. As I stated above, we have a lot of bi-partisan opportunities to make our state attractive for business growth.

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?

Too many of our residents have a dependency on drugs. We need to come together to help young and older people struggling with additions by addressing root causes.

Health care costs are too high. We need to remove bureaucracy that is in the way of allowing the lowest cost health care to be provide with the highest quality level of services.

We have so many opportunties!