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Vallas Defends Quinn’s Tax Plan, Attacks Rauner

Gov. Pat Quinn (right) officially introduces Paul Vallas (left) as his running mate in the 2014 election. (Credit: CBS)

Gov. Pat Quinn (right) officially introduces Paul Vallas (left) as his running mate in the 2014 election. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Paul Vallas hit the campaign trail as Gov. Pat Quinn’s running mate on Wednesday, going on the attack against Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner for wanting to reduce the state’s income tax, saying it would have a “devastating” impact on schools.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports Vallas, the former head of the Chicago Public Schools under Mayor Richard M. Daley, told reporters a failure to keep the state’s 2011 income tax increase in place would mean $1 billion less revenue for schools.

“The impact would absolutely be devastating,” he said. “There’s no way around it, that’s the impact.”

Rauner’s campaign countered by again rolling out a caricature of Quinn dubbed “Quinnocchio,” saying the governor broke a promise the income tax hike would be temporary.

Quinn signed the 2011 income tax into law, and at the time it was intended to be temporary, with a gradual rollback beginning next year.

However, last week, Quinn proposed making the tax hike permanent, saying the state couldn’t afford the cuts to schools and other public services that would be needed if the state were to give up that revenue.

Rauner has said the tax hike should be allowed to expire as originally planned, coupled with spending cuts to offset the lost revenue. However, he has yet to specify what cuts he would make.

Vallas said cutting $1 billion from the state’s education budget would hurt districts across the state.

“No district will be able to absorb that impact without either borrowing, which is bad; finding some way to raise property taxes, which is even worse; or going out and making draconian cuts to critical programs,” he said.

He said the effect would be worse for poorer districts that already struggle to make ends meet.