If it hasn't already happened, any second now I expect all of us to be bombarded with ads from Illinois GOP governor nominee Bruce Rauner that repeat over and over, ad nauseum, how Gov. Pat Quinn, "the worst governor in America," wants to hike your income taxes by 33 percent. Or better yet, Quinn wants to keep his 67 percent income tax grab.
Rauner took a few days' rest from broadcast TV after the primary, but he's got an internet ad out that features dark images of Democratic Gov. Quinn and talks about his broken promises.
The hiking of your income taxes will be a no-brainer ad, soon to follow on an endless loop, after Democrat Quinn said Wednesday he wants to make the "temporary" income tax increase he signed into law in 2011. That would take the state's income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent permanent.
Did Quinn just step into his political grave? Time will tell.
What's Rauner's plan? We still don't really know. He says he favors dropping the tax rate down to 3.75 percent, which the law allows for in January unless Quinn and lawmakers change it. Ask Rauner where he will come up with $4 billion in cuts in a $34.5 billion state budget and he vaguely points to pension reform and Medicaid waste, but the lack of detail is alarming. Voters from north to south need to start demanding from Rauner some specifics.
Quinn, on the other hand, might have offered up enough detail to bury himself. In his budget speech, he proposed increasing taxes to the current 5 percent rate, or "maintain" them as he worded it, stopping them from dropping as the law allows to 3.75 percent at year's end. He sought to throw himself a lifeline by tying that to an annual $500 property tax refund for homeowners and a doubling of the earned income tax credit for lower-income Illinoisans who don't own homes.
Saying he and lawmakers have cut $5.7 billion and any more would mean catastrophic cuts to classrooms, senior citizens and others, Quinn essentially suggested Rauner and the Republicans who suggest billions in cuts can be made while not gutting such essentials are the ones who are deceiving us.
"I was elected in 2010 to be straight with the people of Illinois and to be straight with you," Quinn said Wednesday. "The truth is, those who are telling you that Illinois can tax less and spend less and still expect to fund education are simply not telling you the truth. The truth is, Illinois is spending less - billions less - even as demands have grown. The truth is, our structural budget reforms that we fought for in the past five years are critical to recovery. But alone they are not enough. We cannot cut our way to prosperity. Today, I propose that we take the path that is honest and responsible."
It was Quinn himself who brought up former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar in his speech, noting that Edgar tried in 1997 to raise income taxes in 1997 while cutting property taxes.
I remember that. I was covering Edgar and state government daily back then. I also remember the 1994 campaign for governor. Edgar ran against Democrat Dawn Clark Netsch. It was Netsch who talked about being straight. She was the straight shooter in that campaign. She told Illinoisans she was going to raise their income taxes and cut their property taxes.
It was the Republican then, as it is and will be the Republican now, who bashed the Democrat with TV ad after TV ad for planning to raise people's income taxes.
Edgar attacked Netsch nonstop for proposing an income tax hike. He won. And safely into another term, Edgar proposed raising income taxes and lowering property taxes.
Madeleine Doubek is Reboot's chief operating officer. She previously managed the Daily Herald newsroom. An award-winning journalist, Doubek served as the Daily Herald's political writer and editor and led the paper's project and investigative work. She believes in more of us taking charge of our state government. Follower her on Twitter at @rebootillinois.