Green gubernatorial candidate visits UI

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney visited campus Thursday to announce his economic plan for Illinois.

Whitney, who spoke at Allen Hall to a crowd of about 30 people, said his policy would focus on solving the state’s budget crisis.

Whitney said fixing the state’s tax system will be the main plan in his solution. He said he thinks that the current tax system is unfair, and that it should be progressive.

“Instead of having one of the most repressive systems in the United States, we make it more progressive,“ Whitney said. “And that involves putting more emphasis on the income tax to raise revenue.”

Whitney said that Illinois is very wealthy state, but the tax system is backward.

“It sounds good,“ said Marcin Michniowski, freshman in LAS, about Whitney’s plan. “But I don’t know how easy that is to believe. I do want to know if there is another concrete step being taken to reduce it (the budget problem).”

According to his Web site, Whitney is a supporter of the labor, environmental, civil rights, women’s and antiwar movements.

“Students are voters, and I’m the only candidate in this race that actually has a plan to solve this structural budget deficit so that we can increase funding for higher education,” Whitney said. “And I have a plan for changing that.”

Whitney’s plan has 10 steps to fulfill the goal of solving the budget situation. One of his 10 steps, which he said is one of the most important plans for students, is to improve education and provide free higher education for all in-state residents who qualify academically.

“This is not unattainable, I looked at the numbers, we can raise up for revenue to do this,” Whitney said.

Another step in Whitney’s policy is the advocation of the legalization of marijuana, so that it can add tax revenue and increase the state budget.

“Although some drugs should remain illegal, we should regard this problem as a serious medical issue, not as a criminal justice issue,” Whitney said.

John Kenealy, junior in ACES, said legalizing marijuana will not cause any bad effects.

“I think it’s good,” Kenealy said.

“I don’t think there will be bad effects. I don’t think it will wrongly cause social change.”

Whitney also said that even though he supports legalizing marijuana, it is just a small part of his policy.