State Sen. Bill Brady renewed attacks on the governor's call for a tax increase Sunday in Addison and promised to increase private-sector jobs as he officially began his campaign to be the next governor of Illinois.
With running mate Jason Plummer and other GOP office candidates at his side, Brady said Gov. Pat Quinn's idea was nothing more than borrowing from the future to pay for the past.
"It's not enough to fight against a tax increase. We must fight for tax reductions," he said.
Brady said debt, corruption and deficit spending have been rampant in the state government during the last eight years.
He will be opposed in the race to become governor in the Nov. 2 general election by Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney.
Last week, Quinn unveiled a budget proposal calling for an increase in the individual income tax rate to 4 percent from 3 percent, and the corporate income tax rate to 5.8 percent from 4.8 percent. The result would be roughly $2.8 billion earmarked for restoring more than $1.3 billion in planned education cuts, including nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus money that expires at the end of this budget year.
Brady said the fact that the Democratic Party still does not have a lieutenant governor candidate will be an advantage to the GOP.
"The people of Illinois chose my running mate," he said. "And Plummer helps appeal to a younger generation of Illinoisans."
Scott Lee Cohen was elected in the Feb. 2 primary election to be the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, but resigned Feb. 12 amid allegations of domestic abuse. Party leaders are expected to announce Quinn's running mate March 27.
Plummer, 27, of Edwardsville, said he looked forward to running with Brady, despite friends in New Jersey asking him why he would want the job.
"When people of New Jersey are calling the state corrupt, clearly we've been going the wrong way," he said.
Also on the podium at the Alta Villa Banquets were GOP candidate for Attorney General Steve Kim, candidate for Treasurer Dan Rutherford and candidate for secretary of state candidate Robert Enriquez.
Before Brady took the stage, his opponents in the primary race took turns praising the longtime Bloomington lawmaker and attacking Springfield leadership.
"We need a Republican governor so badly in Springfield," said Kirk Dillard, who lost the primary election to Brady by just 193 votes.
He said out-of-control spending, post-census remapping and the releasing of prisoners has made it time for Republican leadership.
Brady said state officials lost their focus as corruption in the state spread.
"The government should be about the people of Illinois and not the politicians," he said.
In his pledge for new jobs, Brady said he would do his best to return the business climate to where it stood 27 years ago, when he began a small business in the state.
"We need to change course in Illinois and put policies back in place that encourage the private sector to reinvest in Illinois for Illinois families," he said.
The location of the event was no coincidence. Brady struggled during the primary campaign in the Chicago area, picking up just 23,579 of the 406,655 Republican votes in Chicago and the collar counties. With two-thirds of the state's population in the area, Brady acknowledged that it is important to do well here.
One component of that, he said, was to make sure voters come out in November, saying the 23 percent voter turnout in the primary was disappointing. He also said that the time was right for the GOP to seize an opportunity given to them by Democrats.
"This election is not only about Republicans," he said. "We have to reach out to independents, Democrats, minorities - blacks and Latinos - and share a vision of the future of Illinois."