POINT: Who is the best choice for governor of Illinois?
Bruce Rauner: Continued reforms, not raising taxes, are what state needs
By BRUCE RAUNER
Four years ago, I ran for governor to unlock Illinois’ potential. I was a political newcomer. A private citizen called to serve.
It’s been difficult, but short of being a husband, father and grandfather, building a stronger future for the people of Illinois is the most important thing I’ll do. I believe we can reform state government under the principle of public service and returning power to the people.
After I was elected, I leaned on my experience in the private sector. I was successful in business because I brought “out of the box” thinking to existing problems. I sought to turn Illinois around by changing everything at once. I believed an aggressive approach could shock state government into shape and revive Illinois.
While it is true that Illinois needs reform to get back on track, I underestimated how difficult change can be. I have learned that success in public service requires courage and understanding.
Courage to do what’s right regardless of the politics and understanding that there are different viewpoints and priorities, even when we share the same goals. Through these principles, we can chart a new path for Illinois. That’s what I pledge to do over the next four years.
I’ve done things that cost me politically, because I was focused on doing what was right.
I know the budget impasse was painful. It kept me up at night worrying about what many families were experiencing. All of us elected officials let you down.
But it was a fight for reform. Our citizens have suffered for decades under a political system that cares more about winning elections than people. It’s a system that does what’s politically easy instead of what’s right.
I’ve learned from those fights. I’ve learned to listen. I’ve learned that in divided government, you can’t fix things all at once — you have to be willing to accept incremental improvements.
I’ve learned that building consensus around ideas and clearly communicating to the people take time.
And I’ve learned that when we put aside our partisan differences and focus on the good of the people, we can get great things done.
We’ve made progress in education, achieving record levels of K-12 and early childhood investment, greater equity in school funding, and greater school choice. We reformed and improved health care, saving taxpayer dollars, and making us a leader in behavioral health.
We passed an energy plan making us a leader in efficiency and independence, and we’re expanding the University of Illinois, making us a world leader in technology, research and innovation.
By cutting red tape and supporting entrepreneurs, we’ve created over 210,000 new jobs in my tenure.
Now, I’m asking you to allow me to continue the work we started. Our goals remain the same: reducing taxes, growing jobs, and ending corruption. These goals are the opposite of my opponent’s.
I’m committed to lowering income taxes. J.B. Pritzker wants more spending and higher taxes. He’s proposing nearly $11 billion in new spending with another tax hike to cover it.
We cannot tax our way to a better future.
I’m committed to creating good-paying jobs by fixing the broken workers’ compensation system and reducing the regulatory burden on job creators. Pritzker doesn’t think excessive regulations are an issue.
I’m committed to freezing property taxes and removing mandates from Springfield. Pritzker opposes both.
I’m committed to putting term limits on elected officials and ending gerrymandering. Pritzker has voiced zero concern for the corruption in our state.
Illinoisans have a clear choice in November. Will we continue the hard work of reform, to make this state a place where our children and grandchildren can thrive? Or will we return to the status quo: a government controlled by insiders, hell-bent on hiking taxes?
I’m not perfect, but I’ve grown, and I’m committed to doing what’s right.
Serious challenges require serious leaders who are willing to listen and do what’s necessary.
But this election isn’t about me. It’s not about Republican vs. Democrat. It’s about you, and finally delivering the tax relief, jobs, and accountable government our children and grandchildren deserve.
It’s why I’m humbly asking for another four years to finish the job we started, to save our state.
I hope you’ll join me.
Bruce Rauner is the incumbent governor and Republican nominee for re-election. He wrote this column at the request of the Illinois Business Journal.