DIXON – State Sen. Bill Brady was in Dixon on Monday evening and touted himself as the most-electable candidate in the Republican field.
Brady, R-Bloomington, met with a handful of residents at Book on First, 202 W. First St., 8 days before the March 18 primary and said that he was the “reliable Republican.” He pledged that he would work to reduce then eliminate the state income tax, if elected, in addition to eliminating the state Board of Education and protecting existing pensions.
Brady lost in the 2010 general election to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and is running against Bruce Rauner, a wealthy private-equity investor, state Sen. Kirk Dillard and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford for the Republican nomination.
“If you look at what it takes [to beat Quinn], I’m the one candidate who’s electable,” Brady said in an interview. “And the reason we say that is, to be electable, you have to be able to bring the Republican base together. And I won 98 of 102 counties [in 2010].”
Brady said Rauner and Dillard won’t take tough stands on taxes, the Second Amendment and the social issues that are important to Republican voters.
Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, who was in attendance, said he supports Brady because he’s the candidate in the best position to lead the state and has experience in the private sector, as well as the state capital.
“He’s been a leader on some of the biggest issues we’ve faced in Springfield,” Demmer said. “And I think it takes the experience on both sides of the coin to be an effective governor – to really know what it’s like to live and to work and to raise a family in Illinois.”
In December, the state passed a pension reform bill that could save about $160 billion in the next 30 years. The bill was an important first step and will protect the current pension recipients, Brady said, adding that it was a tough decision, but the state couldn’t ignore the problem.
What the pension bill saves, Brady said, allows Illinois to make sure the state has enough money to allow the temporary income tax increase to expire.
“We need to make sure the tax cuts take affect,” Brady said. “[Higher taxes] have destroyed our job-creating opportunities in this state. And if we deliver on that, it’s turning the corner for this state.”
But to further grow the state economy, Brady said, the income tax needs to be eliminated, which could be done in “at least 20 years.”
“We limit government spending to a ratio of population growth and inflation,” he said. “And any revenue we are able to receive over and above that, will go to pay down the income tax.”
In a piece of campaign literature at Books on First on Monday, the Brady campaign said it would “drive our economy by working to eliminate the personal income tax over the next 10 years.”
Brady also said he was against taxing pensions, because it can drive retirees out of the state – to places like Tennessee, Florida and Texas – while the state is still paying for their health care costs in other states.
Brady said he would eliminate of the state Board of Education, giving more control to local school districts, balance the budget and work for term limits for state legislators.
Brady is in favor of limiting state legislators to five terms in the house and three terms in the senate, but said he hasn’t looked at a term limit for the governor, because it hasn’t been issue.
“The focus here is, whether you like [Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives] Mike Madigan or not, most people would say that anyone having 40 years of control, as he’s had in one chamber, is just not healthy,” Brady said.
Brady’s other campaign stops Monday included Rockford, Freeport and the Quad Cities.