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Rauner dodges fairness question

Friday, Jul 11, 2014

* An interesting question

Republican Bruce Rauner will not say whether he believes it’s fair that as a wealthy businessman, he was able to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes in 2010 and 2011.

The candidate for Illinois governor was asked Friday about a Chicago Tribune report last week. It showed business income-loss tax rules allowed Rauner to pay no Social Security or Medicare taxes in those years despite income of $55 million.

Rauner told reporters in Springfield that “we’ve paid full taxes as appropriate.” Asked whether the exemption is fair to all wage-earners, he said: “We can talk about how we should reform our tax code.” He says that discussion is forthcoming.

All discussions are “forthcoming” with him. It’s his own version of Speaker Madigan’s “It’s under review.” Then again, Madigan usually makes a decision after reviewing stuff.

Whatever the case, changing the state’s tax code would have zero to do with whether he had to pay those two federal taxes. Good question, better dodge.

* Meanwhile

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner said Friday he’s not ready to make changes to his pension reform plan in the wake of last week’s decision by the Illinois Supreme Court on retiree health insurance premiums.

Speaking after addressing an American Legion convention in Springfield, Rauner said the state’s high court has yet to weigh in on the broader issue of pension reforms approved by the General Assembly last year.

“We should see what the court decides ultimately when they do and we can address things then,” Rauner said. “I believe the right long-term answer is to protect the pensions and not change historical pensions, but for future work to have a different structure that is more of a defined contribution plan.” […]

Asked if he might alter his plan to that only newly hired workers would be put into a 401(k), Rauner said, “We’ll be outlining our detailed plans in the future.”

There it is again.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Norseman - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    === Rauner said, “We’ll be outlining our detailed plans in the future.” ===

    This is an urgent health warning! Holding your breath waiting for detailed plans is hazardous to your health. Instead, drink a few shots and come up with your own “detailed” and just as plausible plan.

  2. - Skeptic - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    To paraphrase Dick Cheney, “If you dodge a question often enough, it becomes the truth.”

  3. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    What is always coming but never arrives? Tomorrow.

    And Rauner’s plans.

  4. - Skeptic - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    Or on the contrary, to quote Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

  5. - Norseman - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    Raunervich: “Fairness, we don’t need no stink’n fairness.”

  6. - Anon - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    === “We’ll be outlining our detailed plans in the future.” ===

    There he goes again! What’s galling is that the editors (Trib, Daily Herald, etc) will let him get away with it and endorse him anyway.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    The goal is to win an Election, the governing part is utterly lost on either Rauner you speak to.

    This is a hammer for Quinn with teachers and Unions.

    Big hammer.

  8. - Jimbo - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Ugh. I am seriously sick of hearing he has “forthcoming” plans. I cannot believe newspapers, once highly esteemed papers at that, let him get away with that. Have they heard of a follow up question? Maybe, when exactly will we see these plans? Or perhaps if they were particularly fiesty, “you always say that sir, we are still waiting to see even one of these ‘forthcoming’ plans, are you ever going to actually release this one?”

  9. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    I wish someone would ask Rauner whether it’s fair for a candidate running for governor to keep voters ignorant about what he really stands for.

  10. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    “We’ll be outlining our detailed plans in the future.”

    “In crayon. On the back of a bar napkin. Ev and I will present it in song backed by the old Super-Bowl halftime favorite, ‘Up With People’ because it’s all about the people.”

  11. - illlinifan - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Future plans…win the governorship, decide that tax increase is needed due to the Dems, says he can’t get cooperation since the legislature is all Dems, give no bid contracts to friends, leave office and make a fortune through plans he set up while in office….all he is saying now is that he is all about Rauner and what benefits Rauner. If you want my vote, it is time to “show me the plan” otherwise you are another empty suit

  12. - Sir Reel - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    My comment well be forthcoming.

  13. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    “Is it fair?”
    “That’s not fair!”
    “Why does she get to have it and I don’t?”
    “It isn’t fair how he gets to do that all the time and I never get to do it!”
    “Is it fair that it is raining today and not yesterday when I didn’t want to do it?”
    “It isn’t fair that she is always going to Grandma’s for overnight and I don’t get to!”
    “That is not fair!”

    What happened is Rauner hasn’t spent enough time with pre-schoolers to respond to the “fairness” question. He forgot how to deal with this.

    “WAAAAaaaaH! That’s not fair!”

  14. - walker - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    So Rauner’s going to wait for the ISC ruling on the pension law just passed, before he decides what he will really do with pensions? That’s way after he would take office.

    Is that what he just said?

    Might be realizing there aren’t easy, campaign slogan type answers to any of this stuff.

  15. - Archiesmom - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Rauner needs to read the Moody’s article in the previous post for a very clear explanation of the current pension reform legislation’s chances of success and deal with it. This can be a hanging slider for Quinn.

  16. - Imjustabill - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    Won’t a 401k plan for new hires just bow an even bigger hole into the pension deficit for retirees and current employees?

  17. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Rauner’s campaign theme song should be Someday Never Comes

  18. - A guy... - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Perhaps I can suggest a 90 day delay in answering this one. That’s in vogue these days when it comes to Federal stuff. :)

  19. - jim - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    didn’t know Rauner wrote the tax laws. I thought Congress did.

  20. - Mason born - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:48 pm:


    I think the last thing Quinn wants to do is admit the Pension Law he trumpeted is about to get tossed by the Supremes. Remember Quinn was the one telling us all it was Constitutional and showed his “leadership”. Add to that do you really want to remind your base that you were the one who’s instinct was to force them to go to the supreme court to keep their pension?

  21. - Just Trying to Survive - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    Special rules for special people. Do as they say, not as they do. Move along. Nothing to see here.

  22. - Concerned - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Does Rauner know about the Tier II employees and their pension? Significantly less than the pensions that cannot be diminished. So that past of what he says he wants to do has already been done.

    Go to a 401(k) style plan and you make the funding gap worse, as new empoyees won’t be contributing to the already underfunded (thanks to the GA) plan.

  23. - Just Trying to Survive - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    A 90-day delay in answering questions? How about looking like enough of an ace with your billions and not answering any questions till after election? Then there will be edicts passed down to the masses to follow.

  24. - Macbeth - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    There’s no way, no way any current worker would give up a pension for a 401K plan.

    And given last week’s ISC decision, it looks like Rauner can’t force any current state worker to take anything less than what he/she currently has.

    I suspect — as some others have mentioned — that Rauner will try an end-run. He’ll do something bizarre like laying off employees en masse and then hiring them back under a 401K (or not hiring them back period). Or he’ll cut salaries way, way back — 20%, 30% — and claim savings there — even though it’s long-term savings and has nothing to do with current debt.

  25. - Illiana - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    I was wondering when someone would ask Rauner about the Supreme Court decision. It seems like something a major party nominee for governor should be out there talking about.

  26. - Skeptic - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    “that Rauner will try an end-run.” Except there’s that pesky “checks and balances” thing.

  27. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    Hey Vman, check out this crybaby on tax fairness from just yesterday:

    – Including retirement income into our regular state income tax would be fair in many ways.

    We shouldn’t continue to penalize younger workers raising our families by forcing us to pay for the problems caused by Boomer retirements.–

    Don’t you hate whiners like that?

  28. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    So far it is “unfair” that Rauner followed the tax code and paid what was legally due from him? Is the tax code “unfair” or is Rauner following the law “unfair?” Or both?

    Did Quinn also “unfairly” take certain deductions on his taxes while following the law and legally paying what he owed? Is the tax code “unfair” or did Quinn “unfairly” follow the law when legally paying what he legally owed?


    I still await the joint tax returns from 2011, 2012 and 2013 from my less than transparent Congressman, Brad Schneider (D-10th) who continues to refuse to disclose anything, unlike Rauner who disclosed something, with the resulting ruckus! Did Brad Schneider also “unfairly” follow the tax code and legally pay all that he owed?

    For that matter, how many here legally took deductions available to them when filing their returns and paying their taxes? Would that be like, everyone?


  29. - Wensicia - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    “We’ll be outlining our detailed plans in the future.”

    Translation: I’m not telling you anything, now or in the future, because I don’t have to. Besides, who needs details when governing?

  30. - Illiana - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    Mr. Atsaves,

    No one was critizing him for taking the best deal the tax code offered him. The reporter was simply asking Rauner if he thought the part of the tax code he took advantage makes for good law.

  31. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    It’s NOT fair–and Rauner knows it. Indeed, MANY Citizens would not be shocked to find this fact out about Rauner, but the BAD News for HIM is…they don’t like it, and many of them no doubt think it’s outrageous. It’s a real Campaign problem for him and it will hardly be the last Rauner hears about being soundly criticized for it–especially for dodging the bullet.

    Anybody/any candidate can say they’ll “review” something that treMENDously financially benefits THEM and their Gazillionaire Aristocratic friends…and end up doing absolutely NOTHING about such loopholes if given the chance while Average Working Joe and Sue Illinoisans continue having to PAY for the Wealthy’s Loophole, paycheck after paycheck–it merely sounds good for BR to respond the way he did, but his fliply ducking the heat about the issue just simply won’t wash with the Average Middle and Lower-Class Voter come November…

  32. - The Prince - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:58 pm:

    Again, when will Rauner answer the question whether or not if he is elected, if he will put his assets into a blind trust? Every other moat-type guy gets asked.

  33. - Jerome Horwitz - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 4:06 pm:

    The method that Rauner uses to answer questions is similar to the method that Illinois uses to pay vendors.

  34. - Shakey - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    Hey Vman, Maybe you can be just like Bruce R. someday. The carried interest loophole, among other tax dodges used on wall st. is a pretty sweet deal. 15% on however many millions to infinity for those whose work/service is considered a capital gain. But then a corporation is a person, so it all makes $cents. Just need to buy your way in to make the rules, no problem for most of us. Yeah life isn’t fair, but I must say, it seems much less fair for many. See you at the revolution once everyone except the top 5% is making minimum wage. The GOP has been working on this since 1980. Divide and conquer, seems to be working nicely!

  35. - Lt. Guv - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    Gotta agree about the newspaper ed boards. However, to his credit, Pearson has been trying to squeeze answers out of Rauner and hit the same wall as everyone else. Some of the video footage of the Rauner stonewalling would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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