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Rauner Wades Deeper Into Tax Debate, But Offers No Budget Plan

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is wading deeper into the debate over whether Illinois ought to extend a higher income tax rate. He's still refusing to say how he would manage the state budget.

The Rauner campaign says it's making robo-calls to voters in seven House districts. These are key Democrats in the budget debate — most have previously taken positions against the higher tax rate.

"There's still time to help me fight Pat Quinn's tax increase, and to let State Rep. Deb Conroy know you want her to protect you from higher income taxes," Rauner says in the call.

Rep. Deb Conroy, a Democrat from Villa Park, says regardless of Rauner's sudden interest, she's already inclined to vote against making Illinois' 5 percent tax rate permanent.

"It would be so refreshing if we could just have an honest, open conversation about what's in the best interest of our state," Conroy says, adding she doesn't think of this as a partisan issue.

"Bring us an idea," Conroy says. "I would love to have the Republicans say, 'Here's a plan B that we came up with, let's have a conversation.' But so far we haven't seen that."

And that's not likely to change. The Rauner campaign, as it has for a while, would only say its spending plan is coming in the "not too distant future."

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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