State Comptroller Dan Hynes elevated a verbal spat to the airwaves Thursday, releasing the first major television ad of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
In the 30-second spot, which began airing Thursday in the Chicago and Springfield markets, Hynes fires a shot at Democratic primary opponent Gov. Pat Quinn and his plan to raise the state's income tax to help plug a $11 billion budget shortfall. Hynes pitches his plan to only increase income taxes on the wealthy as a better alternative.
"We can balance the budget by cutting waste line-by-line," Hynes says in the ad, "and only raising taxes on people making more than $200,000. We can fix this mess and protect the middle class."
Hynes also tries to paint himself as a voice of sanity during the Blagojevich years.
"As state comptroller, I warned Gov. Blagojevich about overspending but he wouldn't listen," Hynes says in the ad. "That governor is gone, but our problems aren't."
The Quinn campaign moved quickly to discredit the Hynes spot as inaccurate and a return to "the negative, deceptive style of politics that the people of Illinois have firmly rejected."
"It is unfortunate that, in these difficult economic times, the Comptroller is trying to deceive Illinois voters by giving a false impression of my record," Quinn said in a statement released Thursday. "I have always supported a principle as old as the Bible: Taxes should be based on the ability to pay."
Hynes trails Quinn both in popularity and name recognition, according to a survey done by the Quinn campaign in August. He did lead the governor in fundraising by $3 million at the start of the latest reporting period.
A third Democrat, Oak Park trial lawyer and political rookie Ed Scanlan, entered the race Thursday.
Quinn Campaign's Full Statement:
QUINN CAMPAIGN DENOUNCES DECEPTIVE HYNES AD
CHICAGO - In a return to the negative, deceptive style of politics that the people of Illinois have firmly rejected, Comptroller Dan Hynes today released a television commercial that falsely depicts Governor Pat Quinn as an opponent of tax fairness.
In fact, Governor Quinn has spent most of the last 25 years calling for a complete overhaul of Illinois' "soak the middle class" tax code - named one of the 10 most unfair tax codes in the country by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a non-partisan Washington-based research group.
Most recently, Governor Quinn proposed a tax reform plan in his March 18 budget speech that would have provided immediate tax relief for Illinois households at the lower tax brackets while raising rates for taxpayers with higher incomes. Under Governor Quinn's plan, 5 million Illinois taxpayers would have seen their income tax bills stay flat or decrease.
"It is unfortunate that, in these difficult economic times, the Comptroller is trying to deceive Illinois voters by giving a false impression of my record," Governor Quinn said. "I have always supported a principle as old as the Bible: Taxes should be based on the ability to pay."
Governor Quinn added that he is not worried that some voters might be swayed by the Comptroller's deceptive advertising.
"I know that the voters of Illinois will judge me on my true record as Governor, on my efforts to spur economic recovery through the Illinois Jobs Now! program, on my successes in bringing ethical reform to state government, and on my long career of standing up for the taxpayers of Illinois," Quinn said.
Hynes' Tax Plan: