10/02/2014 03:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Are the Illinois Gubernatorial Candidates Focusing on the Issues Enough?

Illinois' next governor will have a lot of work to do to get the state on track with its backlog of bills, unfunded pensions and questions of what to do with the state income tax (plus so much more). So it would make sense that the gubernatorial candidates would be discussing and debating their best ideas for moving Illinois forward, so that voters have a clear choice based on policy in November.

But Mike Lawrence, the founding director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, says Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner's hard-line campaigning is taking away from productive conversations about how to improve the state.

Just two months after the final low blow, the whopping "temporary" increase enacted by Quinn and Democratic lawmakers in 2011 will slide from 5 percent to 3.75 for individuals and from 7 to 5.25 for corporations without legislative and gubernatorial intervention. State Comptroller Judy Topinka warns of a $2-billion collapse that will further erode funding for education and vital human services as leaders grapple with pensions and other accumulated obligations.

To the bloodied victor in the Quinn-Rauner battle will go the spoils and the toil. In addition to addressing the foreboding budgetary "heart attack" colorfully articulated by Topinka, the winner should dedicate his stewardship to rehabbing the buckling knees of a once-proud giant among states. He and legislative chieftains must summon rare statesmanship, courage and creativity...

In any event, our beleaguered state needs an election aftermath much, much more inspiring than the slugfest we are enduring now.

See the rest of Lawrence's thoughts on the campaign and what comes after at Reboot Illinois.

The candidates are hitting each other with such serious accusations in an effort to convince voters each is the right one for the job, an effort that is becoming increasingly harder as the race tightens. Despite repeated polls from several sources showing Rauner ahead, a new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows Quinn just ahead of Rauner. But by how much exactly, and what could that mean for the race going forward?