Quinn, Rauner On The Business Of The State Budget

May 7, 2014

Gov. Pat Quinn told the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants' Association that "savage" cuts will occur if his budget plan does not pass.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

  The two men dueling to be Illinois' next governor tried Thursday to win over business leaders with their plans for the state's finances. They both made appearances before a joint meeting of Illinois' retailers and manufacturers in Springfield.

Quinn got a standing ovation as he took the stage, but the response after that was lukewarm.

Just before Quinn's speech, several business owners had been at the podium, complaining about Illinois' high unemployment rate, regulations and taxes.

It's the type of audience not likely to applaud when the governor threatened "savage" cuts unless Illinois extended an income tax hike that was supposed to be temporary.

Quinn's Republican opponent, private equity investor Bruce Rauner, gave a message more in line with the business community: that Illinois' economy will improve by cutting taxes.

"They're taking your money and spending it on other things," Rauner said of lawmakers. "And you don't have the money then, to hire people. You don't have the money to invest, and grow."

Rauner has yet to unveil a budget plan, though. And Quinn urged the business crowd not to go along with what he called Rauner's "platitudes."

"His plan for our budget can be summed up in three words: 'mum's the word,'" Quinn said.

Rauner told reporters afterward that a comprehensive plan would be unveiled "soon," but would not say if that means before May 31, the date by which the General Assembly is scheduled to have taken a tax vote, passed a new budget and adjourned until after the November election.