Daniel Burnham is famously quoted as saying, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.” It seems that Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for Governor of Illinois, is trying to adopt Burnham’s credo, with one huge missing piece. Don’t ask Rauner about the specifics of his “big plans” for Illinois. He doesn’t have them. One of Rauner’s theoretical “big plans” for Illinois is to cut property taxes for all Illinoisans. In an interview yesterday with the Daily Herald, Rauner says that details will follow after the election, “leaving voters without details about the effort until then.”
Where’s the details? Where’s the specifics? Is it even possible?
“The specifics on how to get there and the pace to get there, I think, is going to be a lot of push and pull with the General Assembly and with leaders around the state,” Rauner said.
Either Rauner doesn’t know, hasn’t thought it out or he is performing a head fake just to get elected.
One of Rauner’s “possible” proposals is what other states have done with property taxes via caps on tax rates and home values. Again, Rauner would not get pinned down by the Daily Herald editorial board. “There’s a whole lot of different ways to do it,” Rauner said. “I think there are pros and cons to each way. I don’t have the definitive solution on that. I know we’ve got to get property taxes under control.”
In other words, Rauner will freeze (or otherwise cut) property taxes, cut the state income tax by 67 percent, increase funding of education, increase capital spending on infrastructure projects and place the state of Illinois on a sound fiscal path.
It will not work.
Governor Pat Quinn is proposing to keep intact the “temporary” tax increase from 2011 and make it permanent. Rauner doesn’t want it eliminated completely, at least not yet. Rauner wants to phase it out over four years to lessen the impact on the state budget.
Quinn actually has a plan, but an indirect plan to freeze or cut property taxes. This spring Quinn proposed raising the property tax credit homeowners get on their income taxes for most homeowners, but lawmakers didn’t approve the idea. He’s still behind the effort.
That actually is one way to do it. “We are not going to have these, in my opinion, nonsensical positions that somehow you can radically cut the income tax, and you have some undefined property tax freeze that the other side can’t even explain,” Quinn said Thursday during his Daily Herald editorial board meeting.
Rauner has bashed Quinn over what he called the lack of job creation, but the fact belie his claim. The latest unemployment numbers released by the Department of Labor also shows that Quinn has the state on the right track. Illinois’ unemployment rate fell to its lowest point since August 2008, before the start of the recession. Illinois’ unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in July.
Illinois’ unemployment rate declined in July to 6.8 percent from June’s 7.1 percent, according to data released earlier today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. During July, 11,200 new private sector jobs were added, including 3,900 manufacturing jobs. The state’s unemployment rate has fallen steadily since July 2013, when it stood at 9.2 percent, and has completed its steepest 12-month decline of 2.4 percentage points since August 1984. Since February 2010, Illinois has added 263,100 private sector jobs.
Rauner’s reaction to the latest positive numbers? According to the Chicago Tribune, Rauner said “It’s always good news when more Illinoisans are working,” but Rauner called the figures into question hours before they were even released. Speaking at a downtown job fair for veterans, Rauner said the data could be “misleading,” arguing the jobless rate may have dropped because many people have simply stopped looking for work.
Sounds very much like the man that challenged President Barack Obama in 2012, Mitt Romney, who said throughout the campaign essentially the same thing. Romney not only lost but was proven wrong.
As will Rauner.