(KWQC) - TV6 sat down with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner ahead of the Illinois Gubernatorial Election. Election day is November 6th.
Q: What will you do for the Quad Cities in a second term?
A: "- The people of the Quad Cities have been suffering from mismanagement of our state for 35 years. I ran for governor to take on the problems. We’re not growing our economy fast enough, we’re not growing enough good paying jobs. A lot of our jobs have been coming from the Illinois side moving over to the Iowa side because the taxes are more reasonable over here. The business regulations are more reasonable and we’ve also not invested in our education enough and a lot of the schools over on the Iowa side do a better job, we’ve got to change that. That’s the reason I ran for governor. In my first term we made great progress. We have record school funding, a new funding formula so our smaller and lower income districts got more money. And we’ve grown 210,000 net new jobs since I’ve became governor and that’s good, compared to what we had in the 12 years we had before I became governor. We had 12 years of 1 party rule with Madigan and Blagojevich and Quinn, we only grew 60,000 jobs. So we’re doing better on jobs, we’re doing better on school funding, we’ve taken on the Medicaid fraud and abuse in our state. We’ve got half a billion in pension reform done. We’re expanding the U of I so that they can use their engineer school so we can grow our tech economy. We’ve made some really great progress. We cut taxes for disabled veterans in Illinois, we’ve got an adoption tax credit so that families who adopt can bring down the cost. We made progress but in my second term my goal for the Quad Cities is to work for the people here in Rock Island and Moline and all over western Illinois and northwest Illinois, not just work for the Chicago political machine. Bring down the property taxes by getting the mandates off of our local communities. Bring down the income tax by getting more pension reform done, and most importantly growing more good paying jobs."
Q: You want to roll back the 2017 income tax increase; if so, which programs will you cut to make up for the revenue loss from the income tax reduction?
A: "- The exciting is we don’t have to cut programs. What we need to do is grow the economy faster which we can do very quickly and I’m doing that right now. But also there is about $6-billion in excess spending in our government’s structure itself. Not social programs, not human services or education. The cost of Illinois government, our government in Illinois is much more expensive than it is over in Iowa. We have 7,000 units of local government in Illinois, way more, like double what most states have. And we also have more mandates and restrictions on our schools and requirements on our cities and our counties. And as a result we have the highest property taxes in America. We don’t need to cut human services, what we need to do is make government more efficient and effective. Life for example, (David: So you wouldn’t advocate cutting any programs?) we don’t need to cut programs, what we need to do is shrink the government bureaucracy. I’ll give you an example for your viewers, when I got into office, many of our departments didn’t have computers, if you can believe that. And those that did were running software from 1974. Very inefficient. We’ve now, rated Grade A as one of the most innovative technology state governments in America. And we’re saving hundreds of millions of dollars by using computers and using mobile apps to bring down the cost of providing our services and increasing the efficiency. Those are the kinds of things that we can change so we don’t have to raise taxes in fact when you get lower taxes and not cut human services."
Q: You’ve said you’ve learned a lot in your first term, including specifically the need to compromise and listen to those you disagree with. How will you use this wisdom to repair your relationship with Speak Madigan and other Democrats?
A: "- The good news is we did a lot of battling because we had the deficit spending for years and years. We finally came to a conclusion and we got a balanced budget done. It still has to be managed to balance, I still got to sell the Thompson Center and reduce but it’s very doable. Now form here we can do incremental changes. We don’t need to have any more budget impasses. No more budget impasses. We’re basically where we need to be, now the incremental changes grow the economy more Find more steps in pension reform or steps in government efficiency and shared services. What I’ve learned is when we have divided government and frankly I had a super majority against me in the government. The changes, we can’t try and do too much too fast. The changes need to be incremental, we need to just take gradual steps. (David – but as far as your relationship with Speaker Madigan and others, what will you do differently? How will you recast your, rebuild your relationship?) Bruce – The Speaker is, he’s one of the most corrupt of politicians in America. My relationship with him will be very cordial but it’ll also be very just matter of fact. What we’ve got to do is work sometimes with him but often times around him. We’ve got the balanced budget done even though he didn’t want to, we worked around him on that. We got the new school funding formula done, we had to work around him. What the good news is many of the democrats in the general assembly realize that Mike Madigan has been ruling with an iron fist, sometimes through the detriment of the people in their own districts and for the first time in history the democrats in Illinois general assembly are calling for term limits. That never used to happen. And many of the women in the general assembly in the democratic caucus are furious at Madigan for the way he’s condoned at hidden sexual harassment in the general assembly and in the democratic party and they’re standing up to him and calling him out. He’s weaker than he’s ever been in his career, that’s an opportunity for good government because if the legislatures vote their conscious, not what he tells them to do we’re going to get great things done."
Q: Reaction to Pres. Trump’s positive comments yesterday about the Montana congressman who assaulted the news reporter? He said the assault was nothing to be embarrassed about.
A: "- I have to say I’m appalled, I’m deeply disappointed. There’s no room in our society, in our civil society for physical assault let alone verbal assault. We should respect each other, have direct honest communication that’s appropriate and proper and respectful. No place for those sort of actions. You know, where I’ve agreed with the president I’ve said so with cutting taxes, cutting regulations, fighting unfair trade deals, fighting against illegal immigration and trying to support legal immigration, not illegal. Is fighting against sanctuary cities, where I’ve agreed with the president I’ve said so and I support him. Where his sometimes his rhetoric, how he described the tragedy in Charlottesville was wrong, how he’s described some women that he’s interacted with is wrong and frankly find it appalling, so where I disagree with his rhetoric, I say so."
Q: On President Trump’s comment on potentially sending National Guard members to the border, essentially close the border with Mexico. Would you support that?
A: "- I support ending illegal immigration. There’s a lot of different ways and theories of how to do that. We in Illinois have a significant problem with illegal immigration. I’ve prevented Illinois from becoming a sanctuary state. The general assembly there has kept, keep passing bills that try to protect illegal immigrants and that’s not right. We should end illegal immigration. My personal view is the best way to end it, is to get e-verify done. E-verify is a federal program where you can digitally tell whether someone who’s applying for a job or getting hired is a legal citizen or with a proper visa or not and then stop them if they’re not. If we do e-verify, mandate it across the county and we increase the penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants rather than Americans, we will stop this problem. And that’s what I’m recommending in congress right now. I’ve said that if the National Guard, President Trump has called for some National Guard troops to go to the border over his 2 years in office. President Obama did the same thing, President Bush did the same thing, this is not a, bringing the National Guard to the border to deal with some of the drug smuggling and some of the problems of the border, that’s not all that controversial and I’ve said that if our National Guard was asked, we haven’t been asked, but if we were that we would send our National Guard."
Q: What’s your focus between now and Election Day?
A: "- My focus is getting out the truth to the people of Illinois. That’s why I appreciate the opportunity to sit with you. I’m running against a guy who inherited billions of dollars. I didn’t inherit anything. My grandparents lived in a double wide trailers, they were dairy farmers. I’ve made every nickel I’ve ever got and I’m very proud of that. Now I’ve done really well working for teachers and law enforcement but this election boils down to integrity and character. I’m a volunteer, I’ve tried to fight for what’s right my whole life. I’m running against a guy who inherited billions, never had an honest day’s work of his life, never had a real job, tried to buy political office from Rob Blagojevich, got caught on an FBI wire trap trying to buy office, keeps his inheritance in the Bahamas so he doesn’t have to pay his income taxes, that’s unpatriotic. That’s un-American and to top it all off he’s defrauded us in Illinois in the state of Illinois we’ve been, $330,000 stolen from him. As determined by a democrat, not a republican, a democrat and Cook County Government investigated Pritzker and over the last year and just announced in the last two weeks that in his view Mr. Pritzker by fraudulently removing some toilets from his many mansions and saying ‘no one can live there’ cause no one could go to the bathroom so he didn’t have to pay property taxes that was stealing $330,000 from all of us rest of our taxpayers because we have to make up the difference to fund the schools. He said tax fraud, mail fraud, perjury. Pritzker doesn’t have the integrity or the character to hold elected office. IT’s about corruption and it’s about taxes. He wants to raise taxes, I want to lower taxes."
Q: You’re currently behind in the polls:
A: "- The polls are bologna. The polls have been proven wrong many election cycles. In Illinois and in the past and the ones I’ve seen have been way wrong. When I’m talking to people it’s very, a lot of enthusiasm, Governor stay strong, don’t back down. I don’t know whether we’re winning at the moment but I wasn’t winning in the polls 4 years ago either. And we’re moving up fast, the truth is getting known and when the truth is known, I’ve had great success, we need to get more progress and we’re going to fight for a better future and do a lot more my second term and I’m fighting against a guy who’s loyal to Mike Madigan, funds the corruption, cheats on his taxes and all he’s running on is raising the income tax more of the people of Illinois. Disaster. Turn out the lights with that guy, we’re going to stay strong, we’re going to win. "