The candidates for governor stubbornly refused to give direct answers to direct questions in their third and possibly final broadcast debate Monday night in Chicago, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Illinois.
Gov. Pat Quinn, who stated in his budget address in March that he wanted to maintain the 5 percent income tax rate after the end of this year, was asked whether he would try to pass a law to keep that rate even if he loses the election. He wouldn’t buy the premise of possibly losing the election:
“No,” he said. “What I’ve said, and I’ve said all year long, and I’ll keep saying it is, we need a good budget.”
That gave Bruce Rauner an opportunity to put words in the governor’s mouth. “I think Pat Quinn finally admitted that when he loses on Nov. 4, he is going to try to put through the income tax hike on the families of Illinois in the lame-duck session,” he said.
The income tax rate, raised from 3 percent to 5 percent in 2011, will fall to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1 unless there is new legislation to the contrary.
What is unclear is why legislative leaders would want their Democratic members to wear the jacket for maintaining a tax hike to make budgeting easier for an incoming Republican governor, should Rauner win the election.
Meanwhile, Rauner was asked several times to name a business he owned that created jobs in Illinois. He danced away from that all night, saying there were “hundreds,” before finally, in a post-debate next conference, naming Actient, a drug marketing firm in Lake Forest that his company sold last year for $585 million. Rauner’s firm, GTCR, formed Actient in 2009. At the time of the sale, the company had 165 employees, 100 of whom were sales representatives.