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Doug Finke

A quick turnaround from tax cut tease to campaign ad

Rauner seizes a campaign issue from budget speech

Rauner seizes a campaign issue from budget speech

It didn’t take Gov. Bruce Rauner long to try to capitalize on the tax cut tease he laid out in his budget speech.

A day after he said that beginning to roll back last year’s income tax hike should be the Legislature’s top priority this spring, Rauner had an ad out promoting his tax-fighting ways.

“Bruce Rauner vetoed the Madigan income tax increase and now Rauner’s leading the charge to reverse it,” the ad opens.

Oh, yes he is. All he wants is for the General Assembly to pass a pension reform plan that’s been sitting around collecting dust for a couple of years now.

Once the Democratic majorities do that over the objections of labor unions who support the Democratic Party, the pension reform plan can be challenged in court the way the last pension reform plan was challenged and ultimately found to be unconstitutional.

Being the fiscally prudent guy he is, Rauner will not proceed with the tax cut unless the latest reform plan is found constitutional. At the pace the court works, that should be around the year 2021, assuming the law is passed this spring.

If the law is found unconstitutional, we’ll probably hear more about the courts being under House Speaker Michael Madigan’s control.

If the reform should stand, you, dear taxpayer, will see a cut of 25 cents on every $100 of your state income tax bill. Go crazy.

REACTION TO Rauner’s election-year budget plan was about what you’d expect: Democrats thought it was bunk, and Republicans were more sympathetic.

There were a couple of exceptions. There were more than a few Republicans who didn’t like Rauner’s idea to push some pension costs for downstate teachers away from the state and onto local school districts. They’re concerned that could cause property taxes to increase, and people are already livid about them.

There was also the reaction from state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who said she had serious concerns about some parts of the plan, but also said it was the closest Rauner has come to presenting a balanced budget. She said it was something lawmakers could work off of.

High praise from a Democrat for a Rauner budget.

SO RAUNER has delivered his budget plan, and lawmakers either think it is OK or it stinks. There wasn’t a whole lot of middle ground after the budget was presented and the speech delivered last week.

Now comes the tough part. What does the Legislature come up with that deals with the same problems Rauner faced with his budget? Things like accounting for higher pension costs and repaying the bonds used to partially pay down the bill backlog and meeting the promise to increase K-12 funding by at least $350 million for funding reform.

Oh, and let’s not forget paying down the remaining bill backlog, which Democrats complained Rauner didn’t really address in his budget.

It’s an election year, so tax hikes really aren’t an option. So no significant additional revenue and, of course, it will be balanced because the General Assembly would never pass an unbalanced budget.

Have at it, folks.

A quick turnaround from tax cut tease to campaign ad The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., Doug Finke columnfb5d3a52-b782-47a5-9513-420e56a9b11c/image-pv_web.jpgshaw-push-component-1