Martwick faces Beckman in race for Senate
by JASON MEREL
Democratic incumbent Robert Martwick is facing Republican challenger Anthony Beckman for the 10th Illinois Senate District seat in the Nov. 3 election.
Martwick said he is running a campaign focusing on the work he has done to make things fairer for the middle class, make education more affordable and giving people a voice with an elected school board.
Beckman, a Norridge police officer, said he is running a campaign that focuses on law and order, school choice and term limits.
Beckman is opposed to the "Fair Tax" amendment, which Martwick has championed, citing concerns that lawmakers would use the graduated income tax to increase taxes on middle-class families.
Martwick said that the tax amendment is a way to put Illinois back on track for a firm financial future and that the messaging opposed to the amendment is based in fear rather than facts.
"There’s a saying among lawyers: if you can’t win on the facts, argue something else," Martwick said. "So they said, ‘don’t trust those politicians.’"
Martwick said the reality is that the legislature already has the ability to raise tax rates and voters hold politicians accountable.
"Right now they’re making it sound so pretty," Beckman said. "I think there should be a fair tax across the board. We have a gas tax, we have a high sales tax, we have high property taxes. It has to be stopped."
"It’s been tried and it was a complete disaster," Martwick said. He said Kansas and Illinois have tried unilaterally lowering tax rates across the board and that Illinois took on $12 billion in new debt.
"It is ridiculous that this is shortly after what we went through with (former governor) Rauner, that somebody is proposing this," Martwick said. "I don’t know where you buy your calculators, but mine doesn’t work like that."
"I don’t want higher taxes. I hate higher taxes," he said. "But when I pull out that calculator, I have to balance the books. He’s comparing a solution to doing nothing, to address our state’s tax regressivity." Martwick said increasing the flat tax would in turn raise taxes on the people that already pay the highest relative tax burden in the country" and that "would not be a good idea."
Beckman said there are other issues that Illinois needs to address beyond tax policy.
"I’m a big supporter of term limits," he said. "I believe when you get into office you should set things in place or fight for things on your agenda and then get out. This is a wear-and-tear job and I don’t believe people should be career politicians."
Beckman said he is also a proponent of school choice, which he explained would give government-subsidized education vouchers to families for private education. Martwick said parents currently have the choice to send their children to private schools. He said all this would do is create competition in the school system that would concentrate more resources in high-performing schools, potentially forcing the highest-performing students away from their neighborhoods in search of better education.
Martwick said a bigger issue facing the state is repaying the debt obligations to the pension systems. Martwick said the pension system was restructured in 2010. He said a combination of restructuring the terms of future pension debt obligations and offering pension buyouts resulted in nearly $1 billion of savings to the state’s debt obligations.
Martwick said his focus beyond addressing Illinois’ financial problems would be to bring an elected school board to Chicago Public Schools.
"My record speaks to who I am as an individual,’ Martwick said. "Everything I’ve done has been about making things more fair for the people of Illinois."
"I am an individual that’s very strong in their convictions," Beckman said. "I was diagnosed with leukemia and beat it this year. I had friends and family tell me to get out of this race but I wanted to fight two fights."