Chris Kennedy backpedals after 'applauding' Rauner's agenda

ByCraig Wall WLS logo
Monday, January 22, 2018
Chris Kennedy backpedals after 'applauding' Rauner's agenda
Chris Kennedy and Bruce Rauner may be political opponents, but they share a common campaign agenda.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Democrats battling to unseat Governor Bruce Rauner traded more barbs on Monday. And once again, Chris Kennedy found himself on the defensive about comments he made applauding the governor.

Kennedy and Rauner may be political opponents, but they share a common campaign agenda: putting an end to state lawmakers making money through the property tax appeals process. After saying he "applauded" Rauner for "speaking truth to power" on Friday, Kennedy found himself backpedaling.

Standing beneath a building that he said is being taxed at a rate half its market value, Chris Kennedy rolled out his plan for reforming the property tax system.

"I think it's a good first step, but it doesn't go nearly far enough," Kennedy said of Rauner's plan.

Kennedy is calling for new laws for how property values are assessed, and a task force to go to court and challenge properties that are undervalued.

J.B. Pritzker's campaign pounced, claiming Kennedy is railing against the same practices he used to get big property tax breaks while he was president of the Merchandise Mart.

"For Chris Kennedy, it is do as I say not as I've done for millions of dollars in property tax breaks," said Galia Slayen, a spokewoman for Pritzker.

Daniel Biss took Kennedy to task over his applauding Bruce Rauner for "speaking truth to power."

"Bruce Rauner hasn't spoken truth to power in his whole life. What he has sometimes done is made inflammatory statements to distract attention from his failure as a governor. And that reminds me of Chris Kennedy who's making inflammatory statements to distract attention from his failures as a candidate," Biss said.

Kennedy was asked if he regretted saying on Friday that he applauded Governor Rauner for going after Pritzker and allegations of pay-to-play politics raised by a Rauner ad that features an FBI wiretap of Pritzker and Blagojevich.

"I mean, I'm running against Bruce Rauner, I campaigned against him all over the state while he was running. I've been an absolute critic of his behavior, I think he's reprehensible for throwing a million people out of government programs. His silence against Donald Trump is beyond belief," Kennedy said.

But Kennedy may have another regret. The Cook County Assessor said Kennedy got his facts wrong about the building he said was woefully undervalued.

Kennedy apparently only checked two of the seven property ID numbers, the assessor said. Adding up all seven puts the actual property value very close to what Kennedy thought it should be.