Rauner Promotes Tax Cut Proposal During Visit To Champaign Manufacturer

Gov. Bruce Rauner at Litania Sports Group.

Gov. Bruce Rauner visits with executives and employees of Litania Sports Group at their company showroom in Champaign.

Jim Meadows/Illijnois Public Media

Governor Bruce Rauner said in his budget address this month that the key to helping businesses in Illinois is cutting taxes and red tape, and boosting training for workers. He repeated that theme in a visit to a Champaign manufacturing facility on Friday.

Rauner visited Litania Sports Group, maker of heavy equipment for athletic facilities. Speaking to employees in the Litania showroom, a large gymnasium showing off a wide range of equipment, the governor noted the company’s long history. Litania’s units include Gill Athletics, founded in 1918 by University of Illinois track & field athlete and coach, Harry Gill; and gymnasium equipment-maker Porter Athletic, which got its start in 1868.

Rauner said Illinois companies like Litania are ready to compete with companies in any other state, but they need a level playing field. And Gov. Rauner said that means lowering state tax rates.

“Our taxes are too high in Illinois,” Rauner told the employees, who were gathered in the Litania showroom, a large gymnasium showing up a wide range of equipment. “We have higher tax burden than the states around us, higher taxes than in Texas, in Tennessee, and North Carolina, a lot of places where your competitors are.”

Rauner’s budget plan does not include an immediate tax cut. Instead, the governor told reporters during a brief news conference that tax rates could be lowered after the enactment of pension reform.

 “So our tax cut is contingent upon the Illinois Supreme Court approving pension reform that I’ve agreed with (Illinois Senate) President Cullerton to do a consideration of model pension reform,” said Rauner. “Once the court approves the pension reform, then we will do a billion dollar income tax cut on the working families and small businesses of Illinois.”

Rauner did not mention another pension proposal he made in his budget address — that one would reduce state teacher pension costs by shifting more of the financial burden to local schools and state universities. But he did touch on his proposals to save money by reducing Illinois' Medicaid costs, and reducing costs for the group health insurance plan for state employees.

Story source: WILL