Illinois State of the State: Quinn pushes for wage increase, early education spending
Springfield, IL (WGN) — Governor Quinn delivered an election year State of the State address in Springfield Wednesday afternoon– touching off a bit of a political firestorm at the state capitol.
Reaction certainly came quickly, and with abundance.
It’s been a tough five years, no argument there. The governor’s central theme– that he has the state on the right track and voters need to let him finish.
“Five years ago, this very day, I stood before you and asked for your prayers. Illinois was in a state of emergency, Governor Pat Quinn said Wednesday.
They are familiar themes becoming the cornerstones of the Pat Quinn re-election campaign. Accomplishments like marriage equality and ethics reform.
“And last year, we enacted necessary and comprehensive pension reform that Moody’s said ‘may be the largest reform package implemented by any state in the nation,” Quinn said.
There’s a rare appearance at the capitol by venture capitalist and republican challenger Bruce Rauner. Quinn’s opponents are quick to pounce.
“We have entered an economic death-spiral and Governor Quinn is trying to cover it up and put a rosy picture on it,” Bruce Rauner (R) Candidate for Governor, said. “Why are you the guy to fix it? “Here’s the issue– we are the worst-run state in America.”
State Senator Bill Brady, (R) Candidate for Governor: “Where he comes up with the fact that we’re forecast to be one of the best job-producing states in the nation is delusional.”
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, (R) Candidate for Governor: “When you’re looking at where you’re trending and where you’re going in the future and where the jobs are going to be- it’s not there.”
State Senator Kirk Dillard, (R) Candidate for Governor: “And you gotta have a lotta perfume to cover up the fact that we’re dead last in projected job creation in 2014.”
Tio Hardiman, (D) Candidate for Governor: “And we need a strong leader, an effective leader that can unify the democrats here in Springfield.”
Already controversy over some Quinn proposals– and how to pay for them. His plan is to hike the state minimum wage– and whether businesses can afford that.
Kristina Rasmussen, Illinois Policy Institute: “That’s going to put a lot of young people out of work as their jobs disappear, hurt small businesses.”
Judy Baar Topinka, (R) State Comptroller: “We can’t have families living in poverty at that who are working their buns off and can’t get ahead of the game and can’t even hold the place together.. you can’t let that happen- this is America!”
Doug Whitley, Illinois Chamber of Commerce: “I thought it was kind of a vanilla speech but the themes were right.”
State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, (D) Northbrook: “Whether all those things come to pass or not, we’ll see- but i thought he laid out a good vision.”
Governor Pat Quinn: “Over the past five years, we’ve rebuilt- one hard step at a time. And we’ve been getting the job done. Illinois is making a comeback.”
That’s a phrase the governor often repeated, saying Illinois, on his watch, is improving. His office even released some new data Wednesday afternoon to back that up, while his republican challengers say the quickest way out of the state’s financial mess is to elect a new governor.
By Tom Negovan