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*** UPDATED x2 - Biss, Pritzker respond *** Kennedy asked about Rauner praise

Monday, Jan 22, 2018

* Chris Kennedy talked to reporters about property taxes today, but he was also asked to address his Friday comments about Gov. Rauner

Rick Pearson: Why should any Democrat be lauding Bruce Rauner? I mean, you said that he speaks truth to power. What exactly are you talking about as far as ‘the power’ [unintelligible]

Chris Kennedy: I think that, that Bruce Rauner was critical of Mike Madigan and the pay to play culture that’s present in our state. And when you, you see, when you see JB Pritzker, when you listen to that tape of him talking to Blagojevich, and this notion that big money is coming in to buy an outcome, buy an outcome maybe for him to become treasurer of the state or some other appointed position. I think that’s the culture that we need to get rid of in Illinois. We cannot have a pay to play system if we’re gonna end up with a great economy and an expanding, uh, economy that works for everyone because we’re underfunding the very institutions that lead to those good outcomes.

Greg Hinz: Do you have any regrets over saying what you said the other day?…

Kennedy: I mean, I’m running against Bruce Rauner. I campaigned against him all over the state while he was running. I’ve been an absolute critic of his behavior. I think he’s reprehensible for, for throwing a million people out of government programs. His silence against Donald Trump is beyond belief. His willingness to put Dreamers at risk is inhuman. And, and yet, and yet, and yet he’s, he’s taking on this pay to play culture that needs to be criticized.

The full Q&A video is here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** I asked the Pritzker and Biss campaigns to respond to the fact that Kennedy didn’t say he had any regrets when pressed. Here’s the Pritzker campaign’s Galia Slayen…

Bruce Rauner has done unconscionable damage to this state, stripping over 1 million Illinoisans of critical services and creating crisis after crisis. The fact that Chris Kennedy can’t stop praising Rauner tells Illinoisans all they need to know about Chris and his failed campaign.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Biss spokesman Tom Elliott…

“Chris Kennedy wants to be governor so bad he’s unapologetically copying Bruce Rauner’s playbook. Kennedy blames Democrats for maintaining the broken system he and J.B. Pritzker use to enrich themselves, and he ‘applauds’ the worst Republican governor in the country who’s made life harder for middle-class families in Illinois.

“When Kennedy applauds Rauner for speaking truth to power, does he agree the budget impasse between Rauner and Madigan was worth the lasting damage it caused to our state and working families?

“When Kennedy applauds Rauner for calling out a pay-to-play culture, is he forgetting about the politically-connected lawyers he hired to get massive tax breaks on his properties?

“And now, with the Rauner-Kennedy plan to ban lawmakers from being property tax appeals lawyers, they both fail to understand that the problem is larger than any one elected official.

“Instead of casting blame, we need a leader who will offer real solutions and work toward meaningful reforms to finally make our state work for the rest of us. Not someone who uses a crisis to score political points.

“That’s the choice we have in this election. We could have Bruce Rauner — or a copy of Bruce Rauner — for four more years. Or we can elect Daniel Biss, who knows how middle-class families like his own are struggling to make ends meet, while Rauner, Kennedy and Pritzker all take advantage of a broken system to enrich themselves and avoid paying their fair share.”

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* From the Pritzker campaign…

Today, Chris Kennedy held a press conference where he provided more property tax rhetoric that is at odds with his record, refused to say if he regretted “applauding” Bruce Rauner on Friday, and said “I don’t know the answer” to basic questions about his own plan.

Most notably, the basis of Kennedy’s “plan” is the idea that the building he was standing in front of was assessed for a fraction of what a bank valued the same building. However, Chris Kennedy’s Merchandise Mart benefitted from this same practice during his tenure.

THE FACTS – In 2007, while Chris Kennedy was President of the Merchandise Mart:

    * The Merchandise Mart was appraised at $917 million in documents used to obtain a loan.

    * That same year, the Assessor and Board of Review assessed the Merchandise Mart at $436,068,830, less than half of its appraised value.

    * The Cook County Assessor at the time, James Houlihan, is now a major donor and fundraiser for Chris Kennedy’s campaign.

“Chris Kennedy held a press conference to attack himself, railing against the same practice he exploited to get millions in property tax breaks at the Merchandise Mart,” said Pritzker communications director Galia Slayen. “For Chris Kennedy, it is do as I say not as I’ve done for millions of dollars in property tax breaks.”

* From Daniel Biss’ spokesman…

When you post about Kennedy’s presser, maybe include this video and transcript?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcWl3z0n9p0

“We can let these two guys complain about whose tax scam was the worst until Bruce Rauner gets reelected. Or we can elect someone who’s not participated in a tax scam, we can elect someone who lives a normal, middle-class life, oh and by the way, elect someone whose property tax burden is a legitimately significant part of his income, because I pay more than ten percent of my income in property taxes. I’m sure neither one of you does. I don’t think it’s important to get into JB Pritzker’s head and figure out exactly what he was thinking at the moment that the toilet got removed, what I know is what happened in your two mansions is not what fifty thousand residents do a year, and what I know Chris, is that you hired the most politically-connected people on a repeated basis to get massive property tax breaks. And now you guys are both running for governor and you say that you want to fix the system. Who is actually going to fix it? Come on.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - Grand Avenue - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:18 pm:

    Pritzker is pushing back hard against Kennedy’s attacks, which is different - before he would just say we need to stop attacking other Democrats and focus on Rauner.


  2. - Come on, Man! - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    This is manna from heaven for Biss


  3. - Concerned Dem - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    Is Kennedy talking about the same Bruce Rauner that gave $200K to Mayor Daley and then got appointed Chairman Of Chicago Convention And Tourism Bureau?


  4. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:31 pm:

    Is this the same Bruce Rauner that gave $250k to get his daughter into Walter Payton Prep when she didn’t qualify literally bumping another child?
    Yeah right Chris -Bruce has no idea what corrupt insider deals are and doesn’t benefit from them?
    Bruce Rauner was pay to play before he started running for office Chris, pay attention please.


  5. - A Jack - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:40 pm:

    I think JB will get a pass on attacking Kennedy from here on out. Chris has attacked not only Pritzker, but the Democratic Party of Illinois.

    And Kennedy has heaped praise on Rauner’s attacks on the Illinois Democratic Party. I am pretty sure that Kennedy can just take his name and go back east as far as most Illinois Democrats are concerned.


  6. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:41 pm:

    ===railing against the same practice he exploited===

    I may be in the minority, but following the rules on the books (including utilizing silly exemptions to lower one’s tax bill) does not preclude one from wishing those rules were different. I will benefit from Illinois’ retirement income exemption, but I am very much in favor of changing that law. Does that mean I am “exploiting” or “scamming”? What about qualifying for both a 457 and 403b, giving me double the annual max contribution limit of most others? Getting an EITC that I do not need?

    The real problem here is poorly written law. Don’t fault the people the utilize them. It is human nature to get the best deal for yourself. Instead, find the “loopholes” and plug them. Tax simplification would help.


  7. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    Kennedy comes across as a guy who’s completely out of his depth.


  8. - Real - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    I unsubscribed from Kennedy’s mailing list after those Rauner comments.


  9. - Fax Machine - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    I think Pritzker is attacking back now because Rauner’s ads against him put a bit if uncertainty in the race - if Dems get turned off to Pritzker because of them they will look to alternatives so it makes sense for Pritzker to whack his opponents so that they don’t look as good as alternatives to JB.


  10. - WSJ Paywall - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    Drop. Out. This is embarrassing.


  11. - Fax Machine - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:53 pm:

    Pritzker is in a tough spot when it comes to going on attack because he wants the anti-JB vote to be split between Biss & Kennedy, so while he’ll fight back when attacked I don’t think he wants to drop a ton of bricks on either because he doesn’t want either opponent to go down so low that their voters go to the other and bring him closer to JB’s vote.


  12. - Jocko - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    ==he’s taking on this pay to play culture==

    Someone needs to tell Chris that doubling-down only works when your last name is Trump.


  13. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    ==Pritzker is pushing back hard against Kennedy’s attacks, which is different==

    Yup- which tells me Kennedy is still the one he sweats the most. Although this has all probably given him “permission” to go negative on Kennedy.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:29 pm:

    Chris Kennedy IS the Ken Dunkin candidate, who applauds Bruce Rauner, and has turned his back on Democrats.

    It’s mind blowing, but to think Kennedy is anything less than a cheerleader for Rauner now is embarrassing for you to think it or me to let you think that’s not Kemnedy’s thoughts.


  15. - @misterjayem - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    “I mean, I’m running against Bruce Rauner… And, and yet, and yet, and yet he’s, he’s taking on this pay to play culture that needs to be criticized.”

    Makes me long for the good old days when he’d just show up late and have the stage collapse around him.

    – MrJM


  16. - Liandro - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:32 pm:

    Yes, one must hate everything done by leaders in the other party in order for the democratic process to properly function. Heap shame upon his head!


  17. - Ron - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    I subscribed from Kennedy’s mailing list after the Rauner comments.


  18. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    Man I feel like a sucker appealing my property taxes just requesting to be assessed at the market price I paid for it a month before the assessment date.

    The above post to me shows it isnt just a Berrios problem. Its that rich capital interests benefit from the unjust ptax system and poor/middle class homeowners get screwed.

    And this isnt just a Cook County thing either.

    In McLean County the local govt is now having to reach long-term property tax deals with the big college student apt developers to give them discounts on their property taxes because local govt cant afford the legal expenses of fighting off their annual assessment challenges on each and every building.


  19. - Anon0091 - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 3:22 pm:

    “I think Pritzker is attacking back now because Rauner’s ads against him put a bit if uncertainty in the race - if Dems get turned off to Pritzker because of them they will look to alternatives so it makes sense for Pritzker to whack his opponents so that they don’t look as good as alternatives to JB.”

    I think you’re misreading. Pritzker is attacking in response to these comments because that’s what smart campaigns do when they get an opening this enormous. I’m surprised that Biss isn’t hammering Kennedy more on these comments since he needs to become the not-JB himself.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    (Sigh)

    Biss Crew… this…

    ===“That’s the choice we have in this election. We could have Bruce Rauner — or a copy of Bruce Rauner — for four more years.===

    The rest could be pared down, cut, or shopped better.

    The whole ball game is Kennedy is Bruce Rauner.

    The quote, what it means, and the grab I grabbed.

    Way too much. Way-way too much… but that line is really good work.


  21. - Anon0091 - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 3:52 pm:

    About time Bissers. What took so long? And yes, as Willy says, it is too long.


  22. - SaulGoodman - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 6:56 pm:

    **I’m surprised that Biss isn’t hammering Kennedy more on these comments since he needs to become the not-JB himself.**

    Because JB is doing it for him?


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