Rauner: Specifics on property taxes will be worked out after election

  • Republican Bruce Rauner met with the Daily Herald editorial board Friday.

      Republican Bruce Rauner met with the Daily Herald editorial board Friday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/27/2014 7:34 AM

Republican Bruce Rauner said he'll work with lawmakers after the Nov. 4 election to decide how to deliver on his campaign promise to freeze property taxes, leaving voters without details about the effort until then.

Rauner says he's telling voters his goals and priorities he'll take into negotiations over specifics if elected.


"The specifics on how to get there and the pace to get there, I think, is going to be a lot of push and pull with the General Assembly and with leaders around the state," Rauner said.

The Winnetka businessman met with the Daily Herald editorial board Friday for an hourlong discussion a day after Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn did the same.

Rauner said other states have dealt with property taxes via caps on tax rates and home values but didn't say which he'd prefer.

"There's a whole lot of different ways to do it," he said. "I think there are pros and cons to each way. I don't have the definitive solution on that. I know we've got to get property taxes under control."

Quinn this spring proposed raising the property tax credit homeowners get on their income taxes for most homeowners, but lawmakers didn't approve the idea. He's still behind the effort.

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"We are not going to have these, in my opinion, nonsensical positions that somehow you can radically cut the income tax, and you have some undefined property tax freeze that the other side can't even explain," Quinn said Thursday.

Taxes are a key issue in the suburbs, where homeowners who get big bills are often looking for relief. The two candidates both need to do relatively well in the populous Chicago area in order to win the state.

Rauner said the Illinois governor's office is a powerful one that gives him a lot of leverage to negotiate with lawmakers. But he's also loudly criticized lawmakers in Springfield of both parties in the past.

He's running a TV ad criticizing the long political careers of Democrats Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. On Friday, Rauner said he respects them.


"I respect them. They respect me," Rauner said. "We'll have good communication."

Quinn and Rauner have split over statewide taxes, too.

Quinn has called for keeping the state's 5 percent income tax rate instead of letting it lower to 3.75 percent as scheduled Jan. 1, arguing the state needs the money to pay down its bills and pay for schools.

Rauner wants to see the income tax rate lower to 3 percent over four years and apply the state sales tax to some business services that aren't taxed now.

"The voters know where they're going with Pat Quinn," Rauner said. "Definitely higher taxes and no significant reforms."

On social issues, Rauner said he's "comfortable" that same-sex marriage is the law in Illinois, and he said he wouldn't seek to change it.

Rauner agrees with Quinn that the way the state hands out money to schools needs to be changed. An effort is moving in Springfield to send more of the state's share of education money to poorer districts, a move that could take millions of dollars out of suburban districts.

Rauner said the current way school money is handled is "antiquated" and "murky," but, like Quinn, didn't offer specific ways to change things beyond prioritizing more spending on education.

"I don't come in with a preconceived notion of what the new system should be," Rauner said. "I'd like to form a task force of Democrats and Republicans and education experts."

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