Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Bruce Rauner Laughs Off Frustrated Journalists' Questions on His Fiscal Plan

Illinois' GOP gubernatorial hopeful remains mum on alternatives for raising taxes

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    Bruce Rauner (file photo)

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently accused his old friend Bruce Rauner of acting like a "career politician" even before stepping into office.

    The Democratic boss got fired-up in April after Rauner, the GOP nominee for Illinois governor, unleashed a set of robo-calls urging voters not to support Emanuel's plan to shore up city pensions by raising property taxes. Emanuel's PR person barked: "Bruce Rauner hasn’t even gotten to Springfield, and he’s already acting like a career politician who plays politics with people’s pensions and livelihood."

    Rauner, undaunted by the public shaming, issued more robo-calls last week slamming Gov. Pat Quinn's pitch to make the state income tax permanent while remaining frustratingly vague on his own plans to rescue Illinois from financial ruin. In a news conference Thursday, the private-equity businessman and multi-millionaire dodged "What is your plan?" questions from exasperated journalists with the unflappable ease of Bill Clinton on his worst day.

    Rauner is heard in an audio file (below) laughing as reporters grill him for information on his remedies for Illinois' fiscal future including pension reform. An excerpt of the tense Q&A, via Rich Miller:

    Q: What’s taking so long? Because you’ve been running for 15 months. You know what the problems were. You knew that the tax is going to expire in 2015 as scheduled as you propose. What is taking so long? Who are these experts by name that you are working with?

    RAUNER: We will be coming out with our plan in due time, long before the General Election.

    Q: What is due time?

    RAUNER: At the right time…

    How "career politician" is that? No plan, no names, just canned laughter and talking points. Hizzoner's right: Rauner might be a political rookie, but he's already a pro.