Taxes top list in GOP's governor candidates debate

January 12, 2010 6:19:55 AM PST
Six of the seven contenders for the Republican nomination for Illinois governor showed up for a City Club debate that left some of them questioning the self-proclaimed front runner's choice of friends. They also slammed the wealthiest candidate after he questioned how serious two others were about not raising taxes:

All six candidates repeated their vows to cut spending and to oppose an income tax increase.

"I will not raise taxes," said Bob Schillerstrom, (R) Candidate for Governor.

"I'm the only candidate in this race who has a proven tax record of not raising your taxes," said Sen. Bill Brady, (R) Candidate for Governor.

"I'll do three things as your next governor: I will cut spending, cut spending, and cut spending," said Adam Andrjeweski, (R) Candidate for Governor.

One went a step further- and promised to cut taxes.

"Now the only time that structural tax cuts and statutory spending caps work--everytime they're tried," said Dan Proft, (R) Candidate for Governor.

The only candidate not to participate was former republican chairman Andy McKenna, whose latest ad takes shots at candidates Jim Ryan and Kirk Dillard, who McKenna chides for not signing a no tax increase pledge.

"Raising taxes would be the poison pill for Illinois especially in the worst recession since the Great Depression," said Jim Ryan, (R) Candidate for Governor.

"I have no designs to raise taxes. In fact I have said I would reduce many taxes in the state of Illinois," said Sen. Kirk Dillard, (R) Candidate for Governor.

In other post-debate interviews, contenders turned on no-show McKenna, who has spent more TV ads than the rest of the field combined.

"Andy McKenna purely and simply with the millions of dollars he's put into this race is trying to buy the race and I think the people of Illinois have had it with pay to play," said Andrjeweski.

During the closing statements Senator Brady went after self-described front-runner Jim Ryan for Ryan's past association with Stuart Levine, a convicted fundraiser for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and Tony Rezko's co-schemer.

"This election is going to be difficult. I question whether Jim Ryan can stand up to the scrutiny of Stuart Levine," said Brady.

"Jim Ryan has a friend, a close associate, his largest contributor, sitting in a federal holding cell for paid-to-play screams," said Dillard.

"The only reason they're saying what they're saying is because they want to win a race. They know I'm honest. I'm not concerned about it," said Ryan.

Ryan also said Brady asked for his support before Ryan declared for governor... and he said Dillard voted to confirm Stuart Levine's appoint to the state hospital facilities board in the late 1990's.

Personal attacks are on the rise as the race heats up for the Republican nomination for governor.