The volatile state income tax issue had been dormant this election year summer -- until the governor's budget director was quoted this week saying a 66 percent increase would happen early next year. Quinn said his budget director's comments were "misconstrued."
"He said the plan that the governor supports, and I'm the governor, is the 1 percent surcharge for education. That's the plan I support," Quinn said.
The governor advised reporters not to believe what they read in the news. Quinn budget director David Vaught was quoted in a business publication Thursday, predicting there would be a state income tax increase from 3 to 5 percent in January.
Anti-tax increase republicans -- including the governor's November challenger, Senator Bill Brady -- were quick to pounce on the Vaught quote.
"It seems that Governor Quinn's policies are to raise the taxes on the backs of Illinois families and businesses to pay for his bigger, bloated government," said Brady.
The governor confirmed he does want a tax increase, but for education, and nothing as large as a 66 percent hike reportedly mentioned by Vaught.
"What I support is a 1 percent surcharge for education, and that's all," said Quinn.
The tax increase debate flared only hours after the Rasmussen polling service released a new survey on the governor's race. Of 750 voters polled by telephone this week, 44 percent favored Brady; 37 favored Quinn.
The governor vowed to convince voters before the election that, if Brady carries through with planned cuts spending for state programs including education, property taxpayers will pay the price.
"If the state doesn't properly fund school, then local property taxes skyrocket. They're backbreaking already," said Quinn.
The Republican was asked about the governor's charge that local property taxes would increase under a Brady administration.
"Now I've made it very clear. We have to cut a dime on every dollar, and we have to focus on waste, fraud, corruption, abuse and mismanagement," said Brady.
Senator Brady is opening a new campaign headquarters in Chicago Thursday night. The Republican is not conceding any votes to Quinn in the heavily Democratic city. The Rasmussen poll on the election has gone back and forth. Just a few weeks ago it showed the candidates in a virtual dead heat. Now Brady appears to be getting some separation.