This morning, Gov. Pat Quinn appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe with two other members of the Democratic Governors Association, Maryland’s Martin O’Malley and Delaware’s Jack Markell.
Host Joe Scarborough hit Quinn with a question a lot of Illinoisans have been asking: Why did you raise taxes on ordinary citizens, then turn around and give breaks to Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Was Scarborough fair? Quinn didn’t think so.
Here’s the exchange. Quinn works in a mention of Groupon, so a take a drink. Of coffee.
SCARBOROUGH: Gov. Quinn, whether you’re a Republican governor of a Democratic governor, these are bleak times when you look at your budget. Some governors are cutting to make do, others are raising taxes. You raised taxes last year --
QUINN: Made cuts, too.
SCARBOROUGH: Made cuts, too, but now you’re being pressured to take a step back on the tax increases. Are you going to do that?
QUINN: No, we’re not. We have to pay the bills, and we’re going to continue to do that, but we also make investments. We invest in education. I like the fact that the president said kids have to stay in school until they’re 18. Jobs follow brainpower. We have to understand that investing in education, including community colleges, is the key to a nimble economy. In our state, Caterpillar, John Deere, Ford, Chrysler, all these are manufacturers, and they’re growing jobs, about 20,000 jobs in Illinois in the past couple years in manufacturing, and we have to continue to invest, as the president said in the State of the Union, in manufacturing. My favorite words are Made In America, and I think that’s how people in our country feel.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, let me ask you, governor, a quick follow-up. Conservatives would say that you raised taxes, but then you had to give big corporations sweetheart deals to keep them from moving out of state. Is that a fair judgment?
QUINN: I don’t think it’s fair at all. We have targeted tax incentives to keep jobs and grow jobs, both for larger businesses, but also small business. I believe that small business means big business in our state. A lot of smaller businesses, like Groupon, they had eight employees in 2008. They have 6,000 today, so we need to invest in smart people. That’s the best way to have a good economy.
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