* 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…
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
“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.”
* 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?
“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.”