The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

June 23, 2014

More specifics needed in Rauner's plan

The (Freeport) Journal-Standard
The Clinton Herald

---- — Bruce Rauner's campaign strategy up until this point boils down to "I'm not Pat Quinn. Vote for me."

It appears to be resonating with many disgruntled voters. A new poll from We Ask America and Reboot Illinois shows Rauner, the Republican challenger with a 10-point lead over the Democratic incumbent. However, 16 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.

We doubt most of that 16 percent were impressed with Rauner's "Bring Back Blueprint" for government reform that his campaign released Thursday.

Rauner's 11-page document told us a lot of what he wouldn't have done as governor and not enough of what he would do. It's not the budget plan we and other editorial boards have called for.

The plan looks more like an entry into a media association contest, referencing newspaper stories and television reports about some of Illinois' problems.

Rauner maintains that his plan would save the state $1 billion, but his math doesn't add up. For example, he says $500 million could be saved by reforming Central Management Services, but he doesn't say where the money would come from. He wants to eliminate the state air force, which may be a good thing, but how much would that really save when you consider that mileage reimbursement would have to increase to make up for the loss?

It's time to show us the money. For instance, how does Rauner plan to cut taxes and still deliver the services that Illinois residents demand? How does he plan to restore trust in government, curtail corruption, improve schools and get the state's roads in shape?

The lack of specifics has not hurt Rauner yet, but he's missing an opportunity — a "golden" opportunity as one former governor would put it — to truly distinguish himself from Quinn's policies.

We know where Quinn stands on the issues. He wants to retain the 5 percent individual income tax so that schools and other areas of government receive adequate financing.

Quinn presented his budget — a five-year fiscal plan — in March. His campaign has challenged Rauner to come up with an alternative.

We'd all love to pay less in taxes. We'd love to see a booming economy and we'd love to have faith in our government. How do we get there?

The broad concepts Rauner has outlined look good on paper, but we'd like to see the math that shows how what he believes in will work. And, will it work in Illinois, where he would doubtless have to deal with a Democratic-heavy General Assembly?

Rauner can do better than what he released Thursday. We'll be waiting.