'Broken Promises': Rauner slams Quinn during visit to metro-east

News-DemocratApril 1, 2014 

BNDVIDEO

— Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner visited a farm Tuesday in St. Clair County as part of his "Broken Promises" tour, saying Gov. Pat Quinn lied to Illinoisans about taxes.

Rauner, a Chicago businessman, said Quinn "broke his promise to Illinoisans" by asking for a permanent extension of the 67 percent income tax increase, which was once sold as temporary. The tax increase, which Quinn signed in 2011 and is equal to one week of pay, is supposed to end in the upcoming fiscal year, but Quinn says it needs to be made permanent to avoid massive cuts to state services.

"Pat Quinn is doubling down on a broken system," Rauner said. "We cannot tax our way out of our problems."

In response, a Quinn campaign spokeswoman said later Tuesday that Quinn has said all along the tax could need to be extended.

Rauner made his remarks during a stop at the David Tiedemann farm, between Belleville and Shiloh. The candidate was making similar stops across the state this week.

"Increasing taxes does not solve the problem," Rauner said.

He said his solution for getting the state's finances in order would be to root out Medicaid fraud, and to implement "true" reforms to the state pension systems. He also said he would restructure state bureaucracies and improve the business environment by reducing regulations and reforming the workers' compensation system.

Quinn campaign spokeswoman Izabela Miltko said Tuesday the governor has said publicly since the temporary tax was enacted that it might need to be extended. Miltko said if the tax is allowed to sunset, the cuts to services would be severe. She said, for example, that about 13,000 teachers would have to be laid off -- roughly one in 10.

Also, Miltko said, 21,000 elderly people would lose in-home health services, and daycare would be lost for 41,000 disadvantaged children.

"You cannot say you're going to miraculously lower taxes, and continue to have the education and services we need," Miltko said.

Quinn told the Springfield State Journal-Register on Monday that credit agencies say there will be consequences for state government if it doesn't put in place a permanent revenue structure.

Rauner said Quinn ought to know about credit downgrades.

"Under Pat Quinn, our bonds, our credit rating, has been downgraded in Illinois 13 times. We're a massive economic failure. What he doesn't understand, and what his allies don't understand, is we cannot tax and spend our way out of our problems," Rauner said.

He added: "We need to grow our way out of our problems. We need to implement a balanced budget now, and we don't need a tax increase to do that."

Rauner said Quinn and Democrats sold the tax increase as something that was needed temporarily to put the state's finances back on solid footing.

"And they've done nothing to fix the problems," Rauner said. "We still have almost $7 billion in unpaid bills."

Rauner said he also opposes Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's proposal for a so-called millionaire's tax, an extra 3 percent tax on income above $1 million. Opponents say the tax would be unfair to farmers and business owners if it's a tax on gross income, with no adjustment for expenses.

"That's a first step toward hurting farmers further, hurting small-business owners, and we should not go in that direction," Rauner said. "That's just another step in the wrong direction of more taxing and more spending. What we need to do is roll back the tax increases, bring our spending in line and live within our means."

Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at bbrueggemann@bnd.com or 239-2511.

Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at bbrueggemann@bnd.com or 239-2511.

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