A side-by-side rundown of where the candidates in the Illinois governor’s race stand on our key challenges. Taxes? Schools? Jobs? Trust? Pensions? Spending? Term limits? Gerrymandering? Who stands with you? Check out the Reboot Illinois one-stop, digital election scorecard for all the answers. Who wins your vote? Our scorecard will help you decide. Award-winning journalists Matt Dietrich & Madeleine Doubek offer up the cheat sheet to break down the issues for you.
View The Issues
Illinois Governor’s Race
1. What are they going to do to our taxes?
I’ve said before, you know, our No. 1 focus has to be on pension reform. You don’t want to put the cart before the horse. (Chicago Tribune, Nov. 14, 2013)’’
It’s critical that our tax rates be flat and low. We have to broaden the base, lower the rates. I don’t want it to stay, but when someone says they’re going to outright veto it, a fair question is: where are you coming up with $6 billion to $7 billion worth of cuts.’’
2. What about improving our schools?
“Through our Birth to Five Initiative, over the next five years, we will work with our community partners—schools, hospitals, and faith-based organizations – to identify expectant mothers and connect them to prenatal services. We can ensure more children are born into the opportunities they deserve and we can save taxpayer money.” (From Quinn’s 2014 State of the State Address.)’’
Described five-point education plan including statewide Pre-k for all students in 2014 State of the State address.
My wife and I believe that there’s nothing we do together as a community that’s more important than education. The sad fact is the Chicago Public School system is one of the worst in the nation … And a huge number of the children in Chicago are not receiving a good education here. And that’s a tragedy and it’s unacceptable.’’
Wants to “re-prioritize” education spending so more money goes to the classroom, not the educational bureaucracy; hold bad teachers accountable.
3. What about jobs, business creation?
“The best way to fight crime, the best way to fight poverty is to have a decent wage. That’s why we’re going to raise the minimum wage and make the will of the people the law of the land.”’’
Has pushed for raising of the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $10, which business groups oppose; signed workers compension reform into law; says more reform needed on workers comp and unemployment insurance
It’s going to take a strategic assessment of the overall tax policy to find out ways we can be more pro-job creation, while still raising enough money for the disadvantaged.’’
Wants to create Right-to-Work zones, examine union laws, reform workers’ compensation system, redo tax environment to make Illinois’ business environment more competitive.
4. Whom should you trust?
“We restored integrity to state government, passing a strong new ethics code, campaign finance reform and a new constitutional amendment to allow voters to recall any governor guilty of corruption.”’’
Convened special corruption panel upon taking office in January 2009; signed campaign contribution limits and enhanced Freedom of Information Act into law.
If this sort of bribery occurred in private business, people would go to jail. In Illinois government, it’s standard practice. Lobbyists, special interests, and career politicians might think wasting our dollars is business as usual. I don’t.’’
Wants to increase efficiency and transparency in government, make government spending more accountable.
5. What's their approach to pension changes?
I respect the retirement security of all our public servants and I think it’s important that we understand the action of the General Assembly today in a bipartisan way will make our state stronger and will make the people stronger. (Press conference following passage of pension reform bill, December 2013.)’’
Quinn tried to cancel lawmaker paychecks when they did not send him a pension bill by July 9, 2013. He said in 2012 he was “put on this earth” to solve the pension crisis, but the legislature has criticized him for not being part of the process. Unveiled Squeezy the Pension Python in 2012 to illustrate the problem. Pushed reform bill through General Assembly in December 2013.
Springfield politicians … voted to slap a small bandage on an open wound. While it may help them temporarily feel better, it does little to fix the real problems facing Illinois. The pension system remains broken and badly underfunded.’’
Wants to “cap the current system and move towards a defined contribution system” and eliminate the ability of gov’t employees to receive large pay raises before they retire in order to increase their pension. Didn’t support pension reform bill.
6. What about spending?
“(U)nlike our predecessors, we’ve made the tough calls to balance the budget. We cut more than one billion dollars in state spending. We overhauled our Medicaid program to save taxpayers over two billion dollars. And even as we took hard steps to return Illinois to sound financial footing, we did it with compassion, preserving the safety net to protect the most vulnerable.
“We also accomplished comprehensive pension reform, something no governor or legislature had been able to do. Previous governors and legislators from both parties created the pension crisis. They did not make the required payments into the pension funds.”
In an 18-month span from spring 2012 to late 2013, Quinn oversaw two of the biggest spending cuts in recent history for Illinois government: a $2.7 billion Medicaid reduction package and a controversial pension reform bill past in December 2013.
Still the state’s discretionary spending has grown during his tenure, with expenditures expected to grow another 7.4 percent ($2.4 billion) in the current fiscal year.
While not addressing his plans for the scheduled expiration of the 2011 income tax increase in his 2014 State of the State Address, Quinn did outline a plan to expand pre-K education throughout the state. This expensive proposition — with no defined funding source — left many observers speculating that Quinn would call for an extension of the 2011 increase or voice his support for a progressive tax system.
State spending has never been higher, or less productive. Our economy continues to suffer, and far too many Illinoisans remain out of work. Our state is in a long-term death spiral. High and rising taxes. Massive deficits and debt. Huge unpaid bills … This is not some fictional horror movie. It is happening all around us.’’
7. Are they for term limits?
In 1994, I led a petition drive to collect almost half a million signatures to put term limits on the ballot. I believe this reform would improve Illinois government.’’
Favors term limits.
8. What about gerrymandering?
I support any reforms that improve competition and openness. It is important that districts be drawn in a way that protects participation by minorities.’’
Favors more competition and transparency along with protecting minority representation.
Yes. I think we need impartial, computer-generated maps.’’