State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is the featured guest on Monday night's "Public Affairs," hosted by Jeff Berkowitz [8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 in Chicago and 7:30 pm on ACTV-10 in Aurora; Go here to watch the Durkin program online].
Rep. Durkin makes the point most Republicans are making about the Quinn-Brady race for Governor. The race is about who has the economic policies to attract industry and restore job growth in Illinois. Social issues take a back seat to jobs, the economy and reform this year. Of course, Quinn-Simon will pound on the social issues, thinking their more liberal views help them, at least upstate. But, could they be mistaken? After all, earlier polls have Quinn losing to Brady, in part because pro-choice Quinn is losing women voters to Brady.
Voters looking past the social issues.
Rep. Jim Durkin said, "Bill Brady has an opportunity to ...make the case, if he stays on point, that his role is to right the fiscal wrongs of Illinois..."
Durkin argued that voters will "look past [the social issues]," this year and "see who is the person who is going to help keep my taxes down, who is going to be responsible with the state money but also help people get back to work."
Budget cuts or an income tax increase
Both major parties are likely to roll over about 6 billion dollars in unpaid bills. The difference between the parties on budget policy is do you raise the income tax by 33%, [as Gov. Quinn wants], or do you make true, across the board cuts in the budget of about 4 billion dollars to bring spending in line with the revenue produced by the current level of tax rates [as Senator Brady wants]. The Illinois Policy Institute weighs in here, arguing that spending should be realigned with current resources and sets out a specific, no tax increase budget-- specifying the cuts and reforms that will make the budget work.
Also, will Senator [and Republican gubernatorial nominee] Brady emphasize that he is a supply sider and argue that ultimately either not raising tax rates or lowering tax rates will stimulate the private sector, producing more jobs and tax revenue, bringing down the deficit? He has already done that, so my guess is he will continue.
Baby state pension reforms
Of course, there is the issue of what many Republicans call the "Baby reforms," of raising the retirement age and reducing pension benefits for future state employees, but not touching the benefits for current employees, as to their future work. The Illinois GOP should have made a big deal of that issue if it wanted to continue the "re-branding process of the Party." Instead, the Republican leadership accepted the baby reforms on the recently passed state pension legislation. .
The reforms were a legislative step iu the right direction, but only a step. Sounds like Rep. Durkin agrees, based on what he said on the show. At least, it is the case that he would have liked to have seen broader state pension reform.
WTTW's Ponce: Quinn and Simon too left leaning?
But, the real kicker in the Gov race occurred on Tuesday night when WTTW host Phil Ponce asked Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee Sheila Simon on Chicago Tonight about the "very strong perception... that Simon and the Governor are both left leaning," with Ponce then asking Simon if "she was too left leaning in a state that is essentially a centrist state." Interesting, you don't hear the mainstream media argue that point very much.
The mainstream media do suggest that Brady-Plummer are too conservative for Illinois. Now we have WTTW asking if Quinn-Simon are essentially too liberal for Illinois. Remember, Simon may be a geographic downstater, but she doesn't appear to be an ideological downstater. Indeed, Gov. Quinn apparently favored Simon over Sen. Garrett for that very reason--Garrett was viewed as a bit of an economic conservative who wouldn't toe the Quinn line. Apparently, Simon will.
So, will Senator Brady's campaign for Governor mimic Ponce and start asking, "Are Quinn-Simon too left leaning for Illinois." A good question for Brady to ask? We'll see.
You can watch more than 100 of the latest episodes of Public Affairs, hosted by Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz, by going here.