GOP Candidates for Governor Appear for Forum

January 15, 2010

Balancing the budget was a top priority for the five Republican candidates for Illinois governor, at a debate held in Urbana for broadcast on statewide public radio and TV Thursday night. Jim Meadows reports.

Frontrunners Andy McKenna and Jim Ryan declined to appear, giving the five other GOP governor candidates more time to outline their plans for balancing Illinois' budget. Dan Proft said he was ready to sell the Illinois Lottery, and then make 4 billion dollars in spending cuts.

Proft said the list includes "specific cuts like 400 million dollars for high-speed rail from Chicago to St. Louis, which isn't even high-speed rail ... 100 million dollars for spending to buy up land in Peotone for the third airport that's not coming".

Adam Andrzejewski said he was ready to do away with entire agencies.

I'll zero out every agency", said Andrzejewski, "like the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, that's not performing on its mission. That'll save us a billion dollars. With me, everything's on the table."

All the candidates opposed Democratic proposals to raise taxes, and some, like Bloomington State Senator Bill Brady, called for tax cuts to spur business growth.

"Cutting the double sales tax penalty on Illinois families and businesses" was one of Brady's examples. Another was "cutting the estate tax penalty, and cutting the taxes and fees that the Blagojevich/Quinn administration imposed on Illinois families and businesses."

State Senator Kirk Dillard and DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom also took part in the debate.

Dillard says his years in the Edgar administration showed he has what it takes to stand up to political heavyweights on the Democratic side.

"I have the experience as Jim Edgar's chief of staff. I've dealt with Mike Madigan. I've told him "no". I've said we're going to keep the legislature in session until we pass property tax caps for beleaguered suburban homeowners. I've told Mayor Daly "no". I Had to tell Mayor Daley you'not going to get a land-based casino the size of four football fields."

Bob Schillerstrom pointed to his experience as the County Board Chairman in DuPage County, the state's 2nd most populous county.

"As essentially the governor of a small state for the last eleven years, I know what leadership is all about", said Schillerstrom. "I know how to run a government. I know when to say no. You go up to DuPage County, you talk to some people --- I've made them mad up there, because I know when to say no."

A 2nd debate featuring Democratic candidates Pat Quinn and Dan Hynes is set to be held in Carbondale next Thursday, January 21st at 7 PM, for airing on public broadcasting stations

Story source: AP