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Quinn reaches 100 days in office

May 8, 2009 3:35:34 PM PDT
Saturday marks Governor Pat Quinn's first 100 days in office. Although he has been the most accessible Illinois governor in recent history, at least as far as reporters are concerned, even he will tell you that this is not the best time to make any judgments about his effectiveness.

The real measure will not be until after his 123rd day in office, at the end of May, when the General Assembly is supposed to vote "yea" or "nay" on the Quinn plans for ethics reform and balancing the state's $12 billion budget deficit.

"I think people are very happy with the new styles of government and the new substance of government," Quinn said.

Quinn was sworn in at perhaps the most politically difficult time in Illinois history and made ethics reform his number one priority.

"Governor Quinn has the bully pulpit to push this along, and I think he's started to do that. We hope he'll do it more aggressively," Cyndi Canary, of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said.

Weeks after Quinn took office, the ousted Rod Blagojevich was indicted for corruption, all the while predicting a tax increase was eminent with the new governor as the fall guy.

"I think a knock from him is a plug for me, that's what I think," Quinn said. "I don't think he has any credibility with anybody on planet Earth."

In March, Quinn did recommend an increase in the state income tax rate of as much as 50 percent on the wealthiest taxpayers. He said his program would reduce or hold the line on taxes for just as many lower and middle income earners.

"Pat Quinn, his first budget out of the box in a recession, increases spending," State Senator Matt Murphy said.

The governor, who plans to run for a full term next year, said powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan generally supports Quinn's idea for a tax increase, although Madigan has made no public comment on the matter. State Representative David Miller said Quinn is making headway in the chamber.

"He's engaging in dialogue with the legislative leaders, not pointing fingers," Miller said.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Lisa Madigan--the speaker's anti-tax increase daughter--could challenge Quinn in next year's Democratic primary. She has millions of dollars in her campaign fund. He reportedly has only $200,000-$300,000.

The governor says being outspent by an opponent is nothing new for him, although he has never run for an Illinois primary. He has consistently said a big problem in the state is the overemphasis on campaign cash.


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