News Local/State

Rutherford Addresses Finances, Same-Sex Marriage in Campaign Swing


In launching a bid for governor this week, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford says Gov. Pat Quinn should not have approved a 2011 income tax hike until other concerns were addressed.

The Republican finished a three-day tour of the state to announce he’s seeking the GOP nomination for governor with a visit to Willard Airport Tuesday.

As Gov. Quinn tries to meet with legislative leaders to solve a pension crisis, Rutherford notes Quinn sought a special session to deal with the same issue in 2012. 

He said the income tax raised money, but didn’t fix the problem – citing billions in unpaid bills.

"What would I have done, had I been the governor back then, income tax was looking to be raised?" he said. "I would have said, put it on the table.  We’ll negotiate it, we’ll discuss it. But I would never have signed that bill into law unless all the issues of finances of the state of Illinois were resolved at the same time.”

The temporary income tax increase is set to expire in 2015.

A vocal supporter of civil unions in Illinois as a state senator, Rutherford has clearly stated this week he is not in favor of same-sex marriage.

Rutherford said there’s a clear distinction between one measure, signed by the governor in 2011, and another that was not brought up for a House vote last week.

“If two consenting adults, whether they’re same sex or opposite sex – and that’s what civil unions provide for, want to join into a union that allows them to have a relationship for assistance in financial matters or health care delivery and so forth, I’m totally alright with that," he said. "I do not support gay marriage, and the difference, in my opinion is that fact that marriage is a religious act."

When asked about entering the 2014 governor’s race, Rutherford cites his voter support in the 2010 race for Illinois Treasurer, earning 50-percent in a four-way race as a Republican. He is the only potential GOP candidate in next year’s race for governor to have won a statewide race.

Other possible names that have surfaced include State Sens. Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, and Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner.

Potential Democratic challengers to Gov. Pat Quinn may include Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley. He said Tuesday he will decide in the next week whether to challenge Quinn.

Daley said the just-ended legislative session was a "debacle'' and Quinn should have done more to resolve the pension crisis and other key issues facing the state.