Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Gov. Quinn's Running Mate Paul Vallas Sticks Foot in Mouth

The aspiring lieutenant governor bashes excess "borrowing" -- by his own boss

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Whoopsies!

    When voicing disapproval of the state budget, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate, Paul Vallas, could do well to tone down his rhetoric -- or risk making the boss look bad.

    "We’ve had decades of bad practices: borrowing, deferring, not funding your pensions, not paying your bills, not being willing to make the tough decisions on the revenue side," Vallas said Sunday in a speech to Champaign County Democrats in Urbana, Ill.

    "When people want to focus on the Democrats as the source of the problem, believe me, it was a collective effort," declared the prospective lieutenant govenor. "Part of the problem was the desire to spend more and the desire to not raise the money to meet the bills the spending needs. I’m not saying all of those decisions were bad decisions, but the bottom line is, the bad practices put the state in a severe financial situation which only intensified when we got hit with the great recession."

    Vallas told the Champaign News-Gazette that he was irked by GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner's radio silence on presenting an alternative fiscal plan. Rauner, a veteran venture capitaliist, was a vocal opponent of Quinn's botched strategy to extend the state income tax hike past its January expiration date.

    "It bothers me that we didn’t see anything emerge from the opposition," he said. "It bothers me that we’re borrowing again and we seem to be relapsing into the same kinds of practices that got us into this position in the first place."

    Perhaps Vallas was so bothered, that he didn't even bother to study the budget proposed by Quinn himself. Capitol Fax's Rich Miller calls attention to an April memo from the Institute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability, which stated: "Although the budget recommended by Governor Pat Quinn for FY2015 proposes extending current income tax rates to avoid a massive revenue cliff, it also relies on borrowing $650 million to close a budget gap and pay down a portion of the State’s backlog of unpaid bills."

    That's a lot of borrowing.