While urging Illinoisans to keep the faith, and slipping in a proposal for raising taxes, Pat Quinn took a few moments in his annual budget address Wednesday to take shots at his rival, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady.
In particular, Quinn attacked Brady's plan for solving the budget crisis, which includes an indiscriminate 10 percent across-the-board spending cut. Quinn called such a cut "heartless and naive" in his 22-minute address.
Brady, who campaigned heavily on the promise, has backed off it recently, saying that the state needs a 10 percent overall spending cut and not necessarily 10 percent from every agency. He has yet to produce a complete budget, but strongly opposes a tax increase like the "one percent income tax surcharge for education" that Governor Quinn announced in his speech. Brady has also said that he doesn't think the state can "cut [its] way out" of the current crisis; it's unclear how he would close the gap.
Quinn also took some less overt shots at Brady later in the speech. "We will defend the minimum wage, we will make sure that everyone receives equal pay for equal work," he said, interrupted at this point by applause, then continued: "...and we will never, ever allow workplace discrimination against good hardworking men and women in the Land of Lincoln to take place."
Since Brady officially won the Republican nomination for governor, Quinn has been trying to paint him as a member of the "extreme right wing." To support this claim, he has pointed out that Brady described the minimum wage as a "government intrusion" into market economics, and also said that the market should dictate whether men and women get paid equally. Brady also sponsored a bill that would eliminate gays and lesbians from anti-discrimination policies--but dropped the unpopular sponsorship after he won the GOP nomination.
But of the entire speech, the tax increase is sure to resonate most throughout the campaign. Quinn's pitch (either raise taxes or sacrifice our children's futures) is either clever messaging or fear-mongering gamesmanship, depending on who you ask. Either way, the ball is now squarely in Brady's court to respond with his own budget ideas.