Hynes formally enters governor's race

September 2, 2009 4:38:11 PM PDT
Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes officially launched his campaign for governor Wednesday and presented his plan to try and solve the state's budget crisis.Candidate announcements are usually heavy on personality and family and very light on issues and details. Not so for Hynes.

He took a calculated political risk and called for an income tax increase on the same day he formally announced he is running for governor.

Three-term Comptroller Hynes, a Democrat, focused on the details of his plan to solve what he called the "out of control state budget."

"Look north, south, east and west. In the smallest of towns and the largest of cities and you will see the failing budget," Hynes said.

He wants to replace Illinois' 3 percent flat income tax with a progressive tax that would cost more only to those earning in excess of $200,000 a year.

"Three percent of the people in this state would be paying a higher tax. Ninety-seven percent of the people would be paying the same as they've paid before," Hynes said.

Incumbent Pat Quinn, who supports a 50 percent increase in the flat tax without a statewide vote, says he supported a progressive tax as lieutenant governor in 2004. However, Quinn says he was opposed by then governor Rod Blagojevich and Hynes

"Maybe he's flipped and he's flopped over on our side, I'm glad he has. We believe in a tax system based on ability to pay," Quinn said.

Hynes also supports new taxes on luxury services like plastic surgery, tanning parlors, pet grooming, limousines, private and health club memberships, dating services and many more.

Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady joked that the Hynes-Quinn race is shaping up as "a choice between a Blagojevich Democrat who wants to raise taxes and a Blagojevich Democrat who wants to raise taxes".

"We can't cut our way out of this. And any lawmaker or anybody who says that either doesn't understand the problem or is not being straightforward," Hynes said.

"Illinois is on the right track," Quinn said.

The governor did not talk taxes to when speaking to Northwest Side seniors Wednesday, but he did allude to the upcoming campaign.

"I'm 60 years old now and I intend to be governor for a long time," Quinn said.

But Hynes says the choice of income tax plans will be a major decision for Democratic primary voters.

"When given a choice between a harshly regressive tax of Pat Quinn's and a progressive tax by Hynes, they will choose a progressive tax to help us out of this fiscal crisis," Hynes said.

Changing the flat state income tax to a progressive levy would require a resolution passed by a two thirds vote in the legislature to amend the Illinois Constitution. Then the voters would have to approve the change in the November 2010 general election.


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