Name: Bruce Rauner
Office seeking: Governor
City of residence: Winnetka
Campaign website: brucerauner.com
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? I’m the only candidate in this race – in either party -- who is fighting for good-paying jobs, lower taxes, and ridding our state of corruption. Illinois has tremendous potential, and we need to take advantage of that by making our state a good place to raise a family and build a business. With the tax and regulatory burden in our state, families are fleeing and businesses are reluctant to come and grow jobs. But I am fighting to change that, and I have traveled the country and the globe to bring new jobs and companies to Illinois. Mike Madigan forced through a 32 percent tax hike on Illinois families, and I have put forth a plan to roll it back. Politicians for decades have used accounting gimmicks to hide the cost of their mismanagement and pass the cost to our children and grandchildren. I am fighting to put Illinois on the path to fiscal security. Lastly, I am working for an ethical and accountable government. For too long, Illinois has been subject to the whims of a few political insiders. We must pass commonsense reforms like term limits and independently drawn legislative maps.
What is the most important issue facing the state? How would you approach it? We must have stronger economic growth in Illinois. That will grow more good jobs, create more opportunity, and provide more revenue to fund important priorities like education and health care. We can do this by fixing our broken tax and regulatory systems and by having our government stop spending money we don’t have. I have just introduced a balanced budget that addresses the issues facing our state like pension reform and rolling back Mike Madigan’s 32 percent tax hike. We also need a highly-educated and well-trained workforce that can compete in a modern economy. And we need to transform our vocational, technical, and apprenticeship programs so that those who choose not to attend a four-year college can still have an outstanding career with good pay.
The state’s income tax was increased to 4.95 percent in 2017. Would you try to roll it back? Why or why not? And if so, how would you roll it back? Illinois has had enough tax hikes. That’s a big part of the reason we face the challenges that we do. I just introduced a budget that lowers the tax burden facing middle class families and businesses. We are fixing our broken property tax system so it doesn’t benefit wealthy real estate owners at the expense of middle class families. We also need to give local communities more control over their property taxes so they can meet their own specific needs and attract new businesses. As governor, I have slowed the growth of government and used administrative actions to reduce regulations. Illinois has twice as many regulations as the states around us due to redundancy and overlap. I’ve already cut regulations through executive action and the goal is to cut 25 percent by the end of 2018.
Illinois is still running a deficit budget. How should it be balanced? If cuts should be made, what programming cuts should be considered? On Valentine’s Day, I proposed a balanced budget that introduces pension reform as well as clears a path to roll back the Madigan tax hikes. Illinois families are taxed out, and it’s time we provide them with the relief that they deserve. My plan abandons the fiscal status quo and creates a budget surplus, while providing record funding to education. In addition, I have proposed structural reforms that will kickstart the Illinois economy, growing jobs in our state, developing an even deeper talent pool through higher education investment opportunities like the Discovery Partners Institute, and beginning to pay down the bill backlog that is holding Illinois back. With my fiscal year 2019 budget, we will unlock Illinois’ potential and begin the process of reform and growth that will allow Illinois to thrive.
Campaign funding has been an issue in the last few months. Should there be changes in the state’s campaign finance rules? Why or why not?If so, what changes would you want to see? We must make certain crucial changes to our electoral system, most notably enacting term limits and fair maps. I have advocated since day one to enact term limits on all elected officials. Illinois politicians like Mike Madigan have made careers from cultivating and consolidating power through decades in office. It is critical to enact term limits to prevent this cycle of corruption from continuing. I have also fought for independently drawn maps, ensuring that every Illinoisan has a voice in the legislative process and no one is silenced simply because of where they live.