Quinn doesn't stand by tax-extension timetable

  • Illinois gubernatorial candidates Republican Bruce Rauner, left, and Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn greet before a debate Tuesday at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.

    Illinois gubernatorial candidates Republican Bruce Rauner, left, and Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn greet before a debate Tuesday at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. Associated Press

Updated 10/14/2014 10:20 PM

Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday declined to repeat his assertion he'd try to extend the state's 2011 tax increase in the weeks after the November election.

Asked directly about his timetable at Tuesday night's debate on CBS 2, Quinn said he's been campaigning on his plan to keep the state's 5 percent tax rate since March and will continue to do so. He argued the state budget would go bust without it, leaving Illinois schools in the lurch.


The rate is scheduled to drop Jan. 1, and he argues Rauner's call for lower taxes would cause big problems.

"This is an unfair, extreme, radical plan that will hurt Illinois," Quinn said.

Rauner sharply criticized Quinn for not directly answering when asked when specifically asked if he'd seek to move forward with extending the tax rate when lawmakers return to Springfield in November and December.

In September, Quinn was asked at a meeting with the Daily Herald editorial board if he'd be able to win approval for his tax plan in 2015.

"It's going to happen in 2014, in November and December," Quinn replied.

That's before a new class of lawmakers takes office. Democrats were criticized in 2011 when lame-duck lawmakers approved the income tax hike hours before the new lawmakers were to take office. Some of the lame-duck lawmakers who voted for the tax increase took jobs with the state afterward.

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"He actually slipped up and was honest," Rauner said at the debate.

Allowed to question each other toward the end of the debate, Rauner pressed Quinn on the question again, but the governor again didn't offer a timetable.

After the debate, Quinn sought to hit Rauner over his budget plans.

"Money can't buy you facts," Quinn said.

He also criticized Rauner for failing to take a direct position on whether the state should ban assault weapons. Rauner declined a yes or no answer, instead repeating he wants to keep guns from criminals and the mentally ill.

The exchange was part of a spirited second televised debate at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.

The two candidates once again sparred over whether Illinois' minimum wage should be raised. Quinn supports raising the $8.25 minimum wage unequivocally. Rauner said he'd back it if partnered with business reforms.

While the debates could be important for the candidates' chances Nov. 4, the three hours they'll spend debating on TV pale in comparison to the millions of dollars both sides have spent on TV ads, a string of aggressive negative spots that could tire some voters.


"I understand you have to advertise your campaign, but the negative ads are just on so much," Jacque Donahue of Palatine said. "With all of this negative stuff, I don't like anyone anymore. It just makes me not want to vote."

The two candidates' clash over the economy included some name-calling when Quinn attacked Rauner's business experience by calling him a "professional outsourcer."

Rauner, meanwhile, argued other states were doing better than Illinois creating jobs and called Quinn the "outsourcer-in-chief."

The debate, sponsored by the Chicago Urban League and Business Leadership Council, spent time focusing on issues of importance to black voters. Rauner touted the support of Chicago ministers who have backed him and said Quinn was taking the black vote for granted. Quinn said Rauner's investment firm didn't employ any black executives.

They'll debate again on ABC 7 Monday.

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