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Kirk, Giannoulias, outline spending cuts
By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/3/2010 12:02 AM | Updated: 9/3/2010 9:59 AM

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Candidates in the race for U.S. Senate both announced plans to rein in government spending this week, not missing the opportunity to trade barbs.

Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, of Chicago, Tuesday announced a plan entitled "Restoring Fiscal Discipline" in which he attempted to tie Republican opponent Kirk to deficits run up during President George W. Bush's administration.

The plan promotes pay-as-you-go budgeting, as well as posting nonemergency legislation online before it is voted upon.

Giannoulias, the current state treasurer, says he wants to extend middle-class tax cuts and allow cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to expire.

He also would permanently extend the estate tax, affecting households worth more than $7 million.

Firing back, Kirk Thursday outlined his priorities to control spending.

Kirk wants a "supermajority" vote required before Congress can approve spending beyond the country's means.

He also wants to enact former Illinois Sen. Paul Simon's constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, and to reestablish a commission that investigates federal government waste and inefficiency.

Kirk campaign spokesman Kirsten Kukowski criticized Giannoulias' support of stimulus spending, as well as raising the state income tax, saying despite a call for fiscal reform, in Illinois, "He has been largely silent on the rapidly falling credit rating of Illinois and the new borrowing costs Illinois taxpayers must pay."

Both Giannoulias and Kirk are in favor of giving the president veto power to nullify special provisions of budget bills, called earmarks.

Kirk says he would completely end earmarks. Giannoulias called for reform, eliminating wasteful earmarks and requiring competitive bidding for those going to private, for-profit companies.