Republican candidates' positions on taxes, budget

January 18, 2010 9:15:46 PM PST
Two weeks from Tuesday, Illinois voters will narrow the field of candidates running for governor.Taxes and the budget are among the hottest topics in the race, and the Republican candidates have spoken out on where they stand on those issues.

No matter where they appear, all seven Republican candidates for governor share one campaign promise.

"I will not raise taxes," said Bob Schillerstrom.

"I have no designs on raising taxes. In fact, I want to cut taxes," Sen. Kirk Dillard said.

"Raising taxes would be the poison pill for Illinois, especially during the worst recession since the Great Depression," said Jim Ryan.

Each of the candidates centers his budget-balancing plan on spending cuts.

"We need to put government on a diet. We can't afford it any longer," said Adam Andrzejewski.

They candidates say the $13 billion deficit took several years to grow and will take several more years to reduce.

"Freeze state spending at its current level, only allow for year over year growth equal to population growth and inflation, that's it," Dan Proft said.

Budget watchdog Ralph Martire says cuts alone will not solve a deficit that now amounts to half of all the money the state raises for itself in a year.

He also says, for the Republicans to do what they promise, would require up to 50 percent reductions in spending for health and human services and public education.

"Any politician trying to tell a different story in Illinois is either disingenuous or very severely math-impaired," Martire said.

"Leaders in Springfield want to do the wrong thing. They want to raise taxes. They want to throw burdens on working families in Illinois," Andy McKenna said.

But as the campaign moves into its final weeks, the Republicans have only intensified their no-tax-increase promises. And if you listen closely to their debates, more of them are now tempting voters with possible tax cuts.

"I know a key to Illinois' economy is not just cutting spending but also bringing jobs through tax breaks," said Sen. Bill Brady.

The most recent statewide poll on the tax issue by Southern Illinois University found 65 percent of Illinois voters surveyed opposed an income tax increase to balance the budget.

Both Democratic primary candidates support their own versions of a tax increase. They say there's no way to avoid it.

The Democrats in the governor's race were set to debate at ABC7 Chicago Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with a broadcast on digital channel 7.2. That's channel 217 on Comcast, 219 on Wide Open West and 618 on RCN.

The debate will also be streamed live here on

It will be rebroadcast on television Tuesday at 11:05 p.m.