Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner each highlighted the other’s shortcomings in a debate Thursday night in Peoria on public television – the first broadcast debate of the campaign.
Rauner said Quinn has been a failure as governor. “Pat Quinn has been a failure on jobs. Under his administration, we’ve become the lowest state of job growth of any state in the Midwest,” he said.
Quinn said Rauner has had is troubles as a financier. “My opponent talks about successful results – he’s been involved with 12 different bankruptcies involving other companies, and there’ve been six of his executives indicted and convicted and sent to jail. Two are under indictment now. They’ve got 150 lawsuits against a nursing home chain,” he said.
The two squabbled over taxes, school funding, the minimum wage, and whether they’re trying to buy votes.
A bone of contention was whether Quinn has cut school funding as governor. Rauner says he has, Quinn says he has not. Rauner relies on a statement by the State Board of Education indicating that money sent to school districts by the state has fallen since Quinn took office in 2009, but that calculation does not take into account money the state now sets aside for teacher pensions, which was supposed to have been done in the past but was not. Also, there was federal stimulus funding available in 2009 and 2010 that is no longer available.