State economic solutions differ by party

With only one day remaining until the 2010 Illinois primaries, gubernatorial candidates from both parties have proposed a range of solutions to restore the state’s economy and create more jobs.

Democratic opponents Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes are both running on campaigns that suggest future tax increases to generate revenue, while those in the deep pool of Republican candidates said that taxes are not the way they will try to restore the state’s economy. Here are some of their platforms:

Pat Quinn

Democratic candidate Quinn, who took over as governor just over a year ago after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was removed from office, proposed “a modest increase in the income tax to make sure the state of Illinois can meet its responsibility to those who depend on state support,” said Elizabeth Austin, spokeswoman for the Quinn campaign.

She said although budget cuts are necessary in times of recession, she added that they are not the only way to fix the state’s economy.

Austin said projects like high-speed rail in Illinois, which Quinn announced will receive $1.2 billion in federal funds, are part of the solution to creating more jobs.

“We can’t cut our way out of this recession,” she said. “We have to grow our way out.”

Dan Hynes

Democratic candidate Hynes plans to cut some items in the budget before increasing income taxes.

According his campaign’s Web site, Hynes will raise income taxes only after looking for available “spending cuts, savings and efficiencies.” It also said he will raise taxes “only on the wealthiest 3 percent of Illinoisans,” if necessary.

According to his site, Hynes also wants to expand the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership. This program at the University provides business resources for students and faculty, and he said he wants to establish it at other schools so student ideas can contribute to job growth.

Upon request for further information Friday, officials in the Hynes campaign said they had nothing to add that was not already on the Web site,

Kirk Dillard

Republican candidate and state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-24), said the University of Illinois is part of his plan to make Illinois what he calls a “destination economy.”

“Higher education is very much on my radar screen,” he said. “I will encourage cutting-edge research and development by giving aggressive tax credits for research, especially in engineering, computer science and agriculture.”

Part of the plan, he said, is to have more entrepreneurships and commercialization of patents developed at the University and other universities across Illinois.

Dillard said his experience with budget deficits in the past will help him handle Illinois’ current financial crisis. As the chief of staff for former Illinois governor Jim Edgar, Dillard said he helped turn the deficit inherited by Edgar into a surplus.

Adam Andrzewski

Republican candidate and founder of an advocacy group for Illinois governmental transparency, Andrzejewski, said his campaign is about three things.

“It’s about jobs; it’s about jobs; it’s about jobs,” he said.

Andrezejewski, who has never held political office, said he will reduce the cost of employment for businesses through tort reform, which are changes to the legal system meant to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits. He will also reduce the cost by creating a merit-based economy and unemployment compensation reform. He said the state’s public universities and other social services, including nursing homes and day care centers, will not get their funds cut under his budget.

Andrzejewski said he plans to increase spending transparency and would implement a “forensic audit” that he said would eliminate waste from the state’s budget.

Bill Brady

Republican State Sen. Bill Brady (R-44) said tort reform and decreased taxation on businesses would create jobs by making employment more affordable. Brady said he is running on a campaign that pledges to reform the state’s spending habits.

“I will order a top-to-bottom prioritization of state spending to curtail programs that are outdated or under-performing and reconstruct government from the bottom up,” Brady said in an e-mail last Friday.

Brady said he will further increase employment by reimbursing businesses with a $2,100 tax credit for every new job they create. He added he will get rid of one of the two taxes on motor fuels and use the remaining tax solely on road repairs and construction.

The campaigns for Republican candidates Jim Ryan, Andy McKenna and Dan Proft could not be reached as of press time.