Monday is day two of state Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s three-day tour of Illinois. He’s meeting with supporters to say he’s officially running for governor. Rutherford has been laying the groundwork to run for years, making the formal announcement one of the least surprising events in Illinois politics. So we asked reporter Brian Mackey to find something about Rutherford’s announcement that was surprising.
Like many Republican candidates, Rutherford likes to remind people he was a businessman. And although he was the only Republican senator to vote for civil unions in 2010, he’s opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage.
Nothing too surprising about any of that. But Rutherford is distinguishing himself on a matter of tax policy.
Republicans in the legislature say the Democrats’ new state budget spends so much money, it’ll be impossible to let what was supposed to be a temporary income-tax increase begin to expire.
Rutherford seems to say he’s open to extending the tax increase.
“Put it on the table. When I take that oath of office in January 2015, that income tax increase is going to have to be on the table for discussion and debate,” Rutherford says. “And I will tell you what, I will not sign any income tax increase that doesn’t fix the problem of Illinois.”
Republicans tried to bludgeon Democrats with the tax hike during last week’s budget debates. For the party’s first official candidate for governor to acknowledge the temporary tax hike might have to be made permanent is surprising indeed.
— Brian Mackey