Quinn, Hynes trade barbs at debate

November 19, 2009 4:35:02 AM PST
The top Democratic candidates in the race for governor had their first debate in Chicago Wednesday. The debate between Governor Pat Quinn and State Comptroller Dan Hynes was held at the Union League Club. Governor Pat Quinn and State Comptroller Dan Hynes were the two candidates invited to the Union League Debate. It focused on budgetary and leadership related issues.

Hynes said, "The two of us up here have one thing in common: Neither of us has been elected governor of Illinois."

Comptroller Hynes tried to put himself on equal footing with Governor Quinn who was elevated to the office last January.

Governor Quinn said, "My job was to stabilize our government...restore integrity to the office of governor. I believe I've done that."

Hynes disagreed and pointed to the state's 10 billion dollar deficit pointing to Quinn's apparent decision not to address the problem until after the upcoming primary.

"This election is about now...solutions to the problem now...not after the election," said Hynes.

Quinn said he's still trying to convince lawmakers in Springfield to raise the state's flat income tax from 3 to 4.5 percent. He criticized Hynes' plan to amend the constitution and impose a progressive tax no sooner than 2011.

Quinn said, "You know, when you're governor, you've got to do things now, you can't have a plan down the road."

The candidates also differed on a proposal to pay smaller pension benefits to teachers and state workers hired in the future.

Hynes said, "I believe that current employees and future employees and teachers especially deserve pension benefits that past employees and teachers get."

Quinn said, "We're not going to have a balanced budget in Illinois, the issue he wants talk about, unless we deal with public pension reform and it takes some courage to do that."

Hynes responded, "On the two-tiered system, he's been all over the map. First he was for it, then he was against it, then he was for it. That is not healthy and not helpful."

Throughout the debate Hynes continued his attack on Quinn's leadership stating, "You can't be inconsistent, you can't flip-flop, you can't be changing course every other week."

Quinn responded, "My opponent wants to be governor, I am the governor...been governor for nine months. I think I've show over and over again getting things done."

Candidates Dock Walls and Ed Scanlon were not invited to the debate. The Union League decided that neither Democrat had done well enough in pre-election polls to be considered a serious contender in the primary.

Walls and Scanlon disagree. They believe they should have been invited despite any pre-election poll.


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