MOLINE -- Saying it's time for Illinois to elect a governor who comes from outside the northeast corner of the state, State Sen. Bill Brady, the newly declared winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary, took a victory lap around the state Monday.|
Accompanied by his wife, Nancy, and lieutenant governor candidate Jason Plummer, Mr. Brady, 48, of Bloomington, said at Quad Cities International Airport the state needs to become business friendly.
He also said the state needs an image change.
"We are putting Democrats on notice," Mr. Brady said. "We are no longer going to put up with being the joke of every late-night talk show.
"We're going to reform Illinois and remove the ethical cloud of corruption."
He referred to Gov. Pat Quinn as part of the "Quinn-Blagojevich" administration, saying Gov. Quinn, "wants to dig deeper into your pockets."
Illinois, mired in $13 billion of debt, is facing a number of problems from layoffs to lack of state payments to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Mr. Brady said the state can't afford an increase in the state income tax or an increase in property taxes to fund school districts.
"Families and businesses around the state are struggling," Mr. Brady said. "The key is a long-term solution to bring jobs back to Illinois and focus on rebuilding Illinois.
"By bringing the jobs back, we'll have the revenue growth we need to pay down the pension debt, to rebuild roads and bridges and to reduce the property tax burden.
"In the meantime, we have to roll up our sleeves and live within our means."
Mr. Brady said he plans on touring the state and listening to what the people have to say. Monday's appearance in the Quad-Cities was part of an eight-city tour with other stops in Rockford, Quincy, Cahokia, Marion, Champaign, Peoria and Bloomington.
Asked if school districts can absorb proposed cuts in education funding, Mr. Brady said school districts, "can, and they must to some extent. We've called for a $700 million reduction in education funding."
He said school districts will have to get the job done.
As for over-burdened state pensions, he said there is only one solution.
"We have to move prospectively every new employee into an employee-owned 401K pension, combined with Social Security, funded each year by the employer and employee," he said. "The employee would have ownership of it.
"You don't have to worry about whether the legislature is going to fund it in 30 years. On the side of $75 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, we need to refinance that debt so the legislature and the governor is forced to repay over a reasonable period of time.
"We can no longer put these obligations off to future generations. We need good government for our children and grandchildren.
"We need to reconcile this problem immediately."
A crowd of about 50 people turned out at the airport event, including U.S. Congressional candidate Bobby Schilling, Rock Island County Republican chairman Susie Carpentier and Moline Mayor Don Welvaert.