Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Quinn Calls Rauner's Illinois Budget 'Blueprint' a 'Giant Prank'

The Illinois governor takes aim at his GOP challenger's strategy to cut wasteful spending

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has slammed Republican challenger Bruce Rauner's state budget "blueprint" as a "giant prank on the public" that offers no fresh ideas.

    The Democratic governor issued a scathing statement Thursday afternoon after the GOP nominee finally delivered on his long-postponed promise to put together a strategy for the state's fiscal future.

    After lots of vague-ness, the Winnetka-based venture capitalist called a press conference earlier in the day to reveal his so-called "blueprint" for "government reform and cutting waste." The 11-page document details some $140 million in "savings" from cuts to what Rauner deems to be excessive spending in Illinois. It reiterates Rauner's vow to "shake up Springfield" and issues further knocks against Democratic Gov. Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan for passing a "phony" state budget last month.

    "It borrows hundreds of millions of dollars and intentionally kicks the can down the road -- all to manufacture a crisis and justify a huge tax increase after the election," the document stated. "We know what the Quinn-Madigan plan is -- tax more, waste more, do less."

    Rauner told journalists on Thursday that he would save money by selling off Illinois' fleet of planes and moving state legislators from a pension system to a 401(k) plan while abstaining from accepting a pension or salary as governor. He said he would collect $12 million after combining the offices of the comptroller and treasurer, and taking aim at Quinn's troubled anti-violence program, vowed to put an end to "political slush funds" and make government financing transparent.

    “What Bruce Rauner released today is a giant prank on the public meant to hide the absence of any real plan to deal with the massive structural challenges facing Illinois," said Team Quinn's spokeperson Brooke Anderson. "Gov. Quinn has cut wasteful spending and made the tough choices to pay the bills while Rauner tried to score political points from the sidelines."

    "Rauner’s prank today notably includes a grandstanding salary provision that would mean that only millionaires and billionaires could be Governor," said the statement. “Rauner has attempted to sabotage the real savings achieved by Gov. Quinn, whether it be real city and state pension reform, paying our bills and protecting homeowners from property tax increases. The question we are left with today after Rauner’s ploy is, 'Where’s his real budget plan?'"

    Responded a Rauner representative: "Only Pat Quinn would reject a billion dollars in cuts to wasteful spending and advocate raising taxes instead."

    Rauner said he plans to unveil a detailed budget within the next few weeks. If the multi-millionaire businessman wants to avoid backlash over his "blueprint" -- really more of a voter-and-media-placating placeholder -- his campaign would do well to release it sooner rather than later.