- Position sought: State Representative, 98th District
- E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.nataliemanley98.com
- Phone: 815-407-7272
- Address: Friends of Natalie Manley, 288 Barney Drive, Joliet, IL 60435
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/nataliemanley
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/nataliemanley98
- Age: 50
- Family: My family and I live in the 98th district.
- Education: Joliet Junior College, University of St. Francis, Bachelors in Business Administration
- Occupation: Certified Public Accountant
- Political party: Democrat
- Previous elected or appointed offices: None
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
As a Certified Public Accountant, I specialize in government auditing, accounting and budgeting. I have experience in protecting tax-payer dollars, and helping local governments, non-profits and businesses manage their budgets and cash flow. Illinois is facing some serious challenges, and adding more people to the General Assembly with strong fiscal backgrounds would be a welcome change. As I walk door to door, people continually tell me that Springfield needs an accountant, not another politician.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
As a trained auditor, I will push for a line-by-line review of the state budget and eliminate unnecessary frills like the state air fleet, state vehicles, and state-issued cell phones.
I also believe lawmakers and constitutional officers should share the burden by taking a mandatory 10% pay cut, and we should go further to eliminate free health insurance for politicians and judges after the retire, then arrange for those dollars to be used to pay off the backlog of bills and help the countless families who are struggling to find work.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I am not a politician – I am a mother, an accountant, an ardent volunteer for non-profits, and a taxpayer. We are all frustrated with the mismanagement and chaos in Springfield, and instead of complaining about it, I decided to do something about it. We need to take some serious steps to reign in spending and balance the budget. Some of the necessary actions will not make me popular in Springfield, but I don’t care about being popular amongst the status quo. I just want to do what is right for people of the 98th district.
What should first be done by the state to keep businesses that have strongly voiced the possibility of leaving, such as CME and Sears?
I support repealing the recent tax hike on businesses.
I believe that extending the state’s research and development tax credit, the net operating loss deduction, and other incentives and tax credits that are designed to help businesses reinvest in job creation are important as we work out of the economic downturn. That said, there must be a strong amount of oversight and accountability as to where those business tax credits are going, how they are utilized and if they are successful. I also think that companies that take state tax breaks and then cut jobs, or move jobs out of state, should be required to give that money back.
Regardless of party affiliation, we must work on reviewing and balancing the budget, and paying down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills and pension obligations. If that is not kept in order, things will only snowball and get worse. Frivolous and inefficient spending in state government must end, and I believe experience in auditing governments can be helpful in taking a critical look at how every single penny is spent.
What can be done to help College Illinois?
I support doing all we can to make higher education more accessible and affordable. I took out student loans and worked two jobs to put myself through college. As of late August, I believe the program was set to re-start, and I support strong oversight to protect students, parents and taxpayers.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
I support further reductions in state spending and reinvesting those dollars in incentives to spur job growth. Given my background as an accountant, I would like to take a very in-depth look at how dollars are allocated, what performance metrics are in place and how shortfalls are addressed.
Through my accounting work, I know that many small businesses in the 98th District were forced to close their doors this year, because of the recent tax hike. I will push to roll the income and business tax increase back, and also provide tax credits for small businesses that create new jobs.
The 98th District lies basically in between two major corridors – I-55 and Weber Road. Traffic, congestion and construction can be frustrating for residents and businesses. I want to work on smart planning and improving our infrastructure so that traffic flow helps to create jobs, not forces companies to look elsewhere.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
My priority in Springfield will be to improve the economy and balance the state budget. I would not make it a priority to infringe on existing rights or medical decisions.
Do you support a gaming bill that would increase the number of casinos or other gambling venues in Illinois? Should a casino be built in Chicago?
I do not support increasing gaming because I do not want existing area casinos to take a hit.
What do you suggest for property tax relief?
As I walk door-to-door meeting voters, I hear from many homeowners who are struggling to pay their property taxes, which have increased despite the fact that their homes are valued at much less than they once were.
I would like to see a change in the property tax policy so that tax bodies cannot increase their levies when the assessed valuation of property within that taxing body is valued lower than it was in the previous year.
Should the state consider consolidating school districts? What would be the best way to accomplish this in your legislative district?
I think this should be reviewed on an individual basis, and if it is a way to cut costs while still providing a quality education, then it is something to be considered.
Should the state legalize marijuana?
Are there ways to reform the legislative scholarship program, or would you support calls to eliminate the program?
The General Assembly Scholarship Program has been rightly abolished. There are countless examples of misuse and corruption, where these tax-payer funded scholarships have been awarded to children of political donors or students who live outside of alegislator’s district boundaries.
I do support doing all we can to make higher education more accessible and affordable. I took out student loans and worked two jobs to put myself through college.
As a CPA, I co-created a financial literacy program for students, teaching responsible budgeting habits. I want to work on implementing statewide initiatives that will allow future generations to have the opportunity of a quality education, the chance to improve their lives and earn a better living without being burdened by massive student loan and credit card debt. I would envision a partnership with local school districts and financial planning professionals to implement this program and building upon the current curriculum.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.