Illinois Republican Gubernatorial Bill Brady acknowledges applause during a debate between the Illinois Republican candidates for Governor in Springfield, Ill., Monday, Dec. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Are Bill Brady and Dan Hynes now blaming Pat Quinn for Chicago’s volatile weather? Brady’s new web ad, which looks like an outtake from Sin City, begins with a shot of rain falling on a gray state capitol, and the legend “Pat Quinn promised us brighter days ahead, but the forecast calls for stormy weather.” That’s edgy for a guy from Bloomington!
Brady tries to make Quinn the scapegoat for the state’s unemployment rate, which would be just as high no matter who was governor. Then he hits his target, detailing the consequences of Quinn’s fiscal mismanagement: “Backlog of unpaid bills at Capitol? $4.7 billion. State Borrowing: $26 billion. What We Owe Retirees? $78 billion.”
“With Pat Quinn,” the ad concludes, “you better figure on taking your umbrella.”
Brady isn’t the only would-be governor trying to rain on Quinn’s governorship. Comptroller Dan Hynes, who in charge of paying those late bills, and who narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Quinn in February, released an end-of-fiscal-year report declaring Illinois “in the worst fiscal position in its history.”
The report, which includes several statistics used in Brady’s ad, also reveals that the General Revenue Fund balance is a record minus $4.69 billion. The comptroller’s office is taking 153 days to pay its bills, also a record.
The state can't afford to replenish its “rainy day” fund, said Hynes’s spokeswoman, Carol Knowles, who loves weather metaphors as much as Brady.
“Given the size of the state's bill backlog, the office believes it was more important to try and (reduce) unpaid bills,” Knowles said. “It’s more than rainy, it’s a monsoon.”