TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS) — The four Republicans running for governor were in the south suburbs Thursday, trying put some distance between each other in a race with no clear front-runner.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the GOP hopefuls took part in a candidate forum at the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce, where they took turns addressing the audience before taking questions from the public.
Among the questions they faced, the candidates were asked how they would deal with powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, and his veto-proof majority in the Illinois House if they were elected governor.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) said he already has.
“I’m the only guy sitting up here that has repeatedly been in a room and told Mike Madigan no,” he said.
Billionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner said the governor is the one with the power in Springfield.
“You have line-item veto, amendatory veto, you control the checkbook, and the spending. You appoint all the key positions throughout the government,” he said.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford shrugged at the question.
“With all due respect to previous speakers, Speaker Madigan and I actually do visit. We actually have conversations on Saturdays. We actually meet when we’re in Springfield,” he said.
State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) said it’s the people pressuring for pension reform, for example.
“Today they are demanding it, and he’s scared to death that if he doesn’t do something … he’ll pay a hefty price in the next election,” he said.
The candidates were also asked about the looming expiration of a 2011 income tax hike.
Brady was unequivocal about his plans.
“I will veto any attempt the legislature may put in place to extend that 67 percent increase in the income tax,” Brady said.
Dillard fine-tuned that.
“The Senate Republican caucus has a plan that shows you how you phase out that tax. It lays out a menu of options,” he said.
Rauner didn’t mention the word veto, but said “It’s critical that our tax rates be flat and low. We have to broaden the base, lower the rates.”
Rutherford said he was the only candidate being honest about the impact of rolling back the tax hike.
“I don’t want it to stay, but when someone says they’re going to outright veto it, a fair question is: where are you coming up with $6 billion to $7 billion worth of cuts,” he said.