CHICAGO (CBS) — Three weeks after announcing in an online video that he would be running for a second term, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday kicked off his re-election tour with a pair of stops in central Illinois.
The governor toured Pavlov Media in Champaign and T/CCI Manufacturing in Decatur, where he said he would try to roll back the income tax approved over his veto earlier this year.
“Here’s the key. We waste billions of dollars in pension costs, in Medicaid, in the size of our government bureaucracy; and if we work together to shrink those costs – and I’ve recommended ways to do that, so far Speaker Madigan’s legislators have not wanted to do pension reform, they’ve not wanted to help us on some of the Medicaid reform,” he said.
Although Rauner faces a challenge from within his own party, along with a handful of Democrats seeking to take him on in the general election, the governor focused on his political nemesis, House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has been the most frequent target of Rauner’s criticisms.
“You can ask anybody who’s running for your vote, ask them ‘You gonna vote for Mike Madigan to be speaker again after 35 years?’ No. Let’s get new leadership; term limits, new leadership, roll back the tax hike, get more jobs by helping companies like T/CCI grow. Then we’ve got a great future for the people of Illinois,” he said.
Meantime, the governor dodged reporters’ questions about his controversial decision to sign an abortion bill he’d earlier told supporter he intended to veto.
“What we can agree on is we’ve got to grow more jobs. What we can agree on is we should have term limits on our elected officials. What we can agree on is our property taxes are too high, and we need to bring them down,” he said.
In September, Rauner signed legislation allowing for state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions.
The governor tried to have it both ways on the legislation before it hit his desk.
In 2014, in a survey for abortion rights group Personal PAC, Rauner said he would support legislation to remove restrictions on abortion coverage under Medicaid and state employees’ health insurance.
However, in April 2017, he vowed to veto legislation that would protect abortion rights in Illinois if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, because the measure would expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions.
His decision to sign the legislation angered many conservative Republicans, including Illinois Rep. Jeanne Ives, who has announced plans to run against the governor in the 2018 primary.
Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) also has slammed Rauner, calling him a liar, a “bad politician,” and a “failed governor.”
Rauner said “reasonable people can disagree,” but he wants to unite lawmakers to get good things done for the state.
“Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, everybody in the state of Illinois agrees on these four things: bring down our property taxes, roll back the income tax hike, get term limits on elected officials, and help our businesses create more jobs,” he said. “We’ve already been able to reduce some regulations. We’ve already been able to do historic education reform. We’ve already been able to reduce – for example – some of our units of local government. So we’re shrinking our bureaucracy. We’ve got some things done. I’m proud of that, even though Speaker Madigan resisted.”