Rauner seen as giving political ammunition to 2018 rivals
Gov. Bruce Rauner has dug a hole it's going to be tough to climb out of before the 2018 elections, Patrick Hughes, co-founder of the Illinois Opportunity Project, said on the radio show "Illinois Rising" recently.
“[Rauner] is going to have … this gigantic tax hike to solve a budget that really isn’t going to help the state economically at all,” Hughes said. “The next two years leading up to the election, the economy is going to continue to get worse, the tax hike is going to cause more pain and more people are going to leave. Politically, it’s very very damaging to him. Does it end my support for Gov. Rauner? It’s starting to.”
Hughes' comments came a week before Rauner vetoed a Democratic budget plan that included a 32 percent tax increase. Despite opposition to the tax hike by most lllinoisans, the General Assembly overrode the veto, providing the state with its first full budget in two years.
The veto overrides were a political defeat for Rauner and in response he has made fundamental changes to his staff, including hiring Kristin Rasmussen, former president and COO of the Illinois Policy Institute, as his chief of staff.
Still, Hughes asserted that Rauner has already caused serious damage to his reputation.
“Rauner’s going to lose a lot from his right flank because he has already upset social conservatives who made a deal with him on economic issues,” Hughes said. “If he is going to abandoned them on economic issues, he’s going to have a hard time getting enthusiasm from his base and driving it out.”
Hughes asserted that Rauner’s gubernatorial opponents might take advantage of the situation, crafting a narrative in which they were against the tax hike that was enacted under Rauner.
“So, he’s got a problem on his right flank, and then he's got a general election problem because both of those guys are not going to vote, comment or do anything as it relates to this budget,” Hughes said. “It’s a terrible political position he’s put himself in.”
"Illinois Rising" is hosted by Dan Proft, who is a principle of Local Government Information Services (LGIS),which publishes this publication..