Quinn accuses Brady of not being square on taxes

Friday, September 24, 2010

CHICAGO — Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn suggested again Thursday that his Republican opponent, state Sen. Bill Brady, isn't being square with voters when he rejects the idea of raising taxes.

Quinn accused Brady of having a "secret set" of budget proposals that he doesn't want to share with voters until after the November election, something Quinn called "the Republican way" because some GOP governors have worked to raise taxes after getting elected.

"That's what Sen. Brady is all about and we shouldn't let him get away with it, especially after 10 years of problems with governors who weren't straightforward with the people," Quinn said after appearing separately from Brady at a Chicago candidate forum that was closed to the press. "I try to be as honest and direct about everything, including the budget, including revenue."

Quinn is campaigning on an income tax increase that he says is needed to help fix a state budget crippled by a historic $13 billion deficit. The former lieutenant governor, Quinn inherited many of the state's financial troubles when took over after lawmakers removed former Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office in January 2009.

"I'm going to tell people what they need to know, not what politicians want them to hear," Quinn said.

Brady spokeswoman Patty Schuh dismissed Quinn's comments, countering that he had "no credibility" on taxes because he had offered numerous proposals for raising the income tax that lawmakers had yet to accept.

"Bill Brady has been abundantly clear -- he will not raise taxes to solve the fiscal crisis exacerbated by the Blagojevich-Quinn administration," she said in a statement. "Instead, Bill Brady will force government to live within its means and stabilize our economy so businesses will keep and create jobs for our families."

But even former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar said Thursday that the 10 percent spending cut Brady talks about may not solve the state's budget problems and Illinois residents eventually might support higher taxes.

Brady backs a 10 percent cut coupled with tax reductions to balance the Illinois budget. That amounts to less than $2 billion in cuts, compared to the deficit of roughly $13 billion.

Edgar told reporters after an unrelated Chicago news conference that there may come a time when Illinois residents will oppose more spending cuts and be ready for a tax increase.

Still, he doesn't think Brady is planning any tax surprises if he wins in November.

"I think a lot of folks understand at some point you might have to do that. I don't think Sen. Brady is there. I've talked to him and I don't get the idea that he's planning any tax thing," Edgar said.

But said he would counsel Brady to be flexible.

"You don't know 'til you get there just how bad it is," he said.