CHICAGO (CBS) – Democratic challenger Bill Daley ripped into Gov. Pat Quinn on a number of issues on Tuesday, including the recent scandal over spending on the $50 million renovation of the Illinois State Capitol.
Daley said Quinn should have prevented the expenditure of nearly $670,000 for three sets of copper-plated double doors, $160,000 for sculptures replicating statues that were never in the original capitol building, and $323,000 for four chandeliers.
He said those costs are significant, even if a tiny fraction of the overall cost.
“Some people may scoff at it and say, ‘Well, $700,000 out of $50 million, or whatever the renovation is, big deal.’ You know, the average person says that is a big deal,” Daley said. “And until we’re sensitive to them, we’re just going to roll over and say, ‘Well, what the heck, it’s going to last 100 years these doors, and they’re beautiful, and they’re copper, and how could you be against them?’ That’s crazy.”
Daley said people are just numb to continuing expenditures by government officials spending other people’s money.
Quinn agrees with challenger William Daley that a million dollars is too much for new doors and chandeliers in the State Capitol.
“I instructed our budget director to hold up the appropriation for any further renovation work in the State Capitol,” said Quinn.
Quinn says renovation required asbestos removal and handicapped ramps, but not a million dollars’ worth of doors.
“We don’t need to have the palace of Versailles at our State Capitol,” said Quinn.
Daley also blasted Quinn over Illinois’ 9.2 percent unemployment rate – the second worst in the nation, and the worst in the Midwest.
“We all know that 7.4 – the national average – is not acceptable, and it should be abhorrent that it’s 9.2 here in Illinois,” Daley said.
Though down from a peak of about 12 percent at the height of the recession, the state’s unemployment rate has hovered between 8.5 and 9.5 percent for the past year.
Daley damned Quinn with faint praise, calling him a good man, and a fellow White Sox fan, but someone who’s not up to the job of governor, and who is too busy campaigning, rather than addressing the state’s problems.
He pointed to the continuing inability of Springfield to produce significant pension reform, a problem which he said would have been handled by now with proper leadership from the governor.
“Rather than jet from press conference to press conference, the governor needs to show up for work, and actually do the job of running the state,” he said.
I response to those criticisms from Daley, Quinn said, “He was the Midwest chairman of a bank that helped drive the American economy into the ditch and created the great recession. I’m the person who is trying to get our state out of that recession.”