On the second day of his campaign kickoff, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner came to the Quad-Cities on Tuesday, where he continued to train his attention on House Speaker Mike Madigan while calling for a reduction in regulations and taxes.
Rauner, who is seeking a second term, toured Parr Instrument Company in Moline and told workers the state needs to help companies like it to grow.
The governor complained about income and property taxes, and said the personal income tax that went from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent as part of the budget deal earlier this year ought to be rolled back to 3 percent. "Our taxes are too darned high," Rauner said. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the legislature voted to raise the individual tax rate from 3 percent.)
As he has previously, Rauner continued to campaign against Madigan. He blamed the speaker for the income tax increase and high property taxes, as well as a range of other problems, and he told workers they ought to get Democratic lawmakers in the area to commit to abandon him in order to get their votes.
"He's the one holding us back," Rauner said. "So we must get him out."
Steve Brown, a spokesman for the speaker, responded that many of the things that Rauner counts as successes, such as the school funding reform law — which the governor initially vetoed — got the speaker's support, too. "If you look at his criticism, it is not based in real facts," Brown said.
Rauner said the state should be able to lower the income tax to 3 percent. But he also suggested some willingness to talk. "I'm open to negotiating with the General Assembly on this, but the reality is we were at 3 percent for a long time. We can do this," he said.
The governor is facing a potential primary challenge from state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, who along with some others in the party are upset the governor signed a bill that expands government funding for abortions, saying he contravened a promise not to do so.
Rauner, who has said that he did what he thought was right in signing the bill, has urged that Republicans focus on areas of agreement. He did so again on Tuesday, and he pushed back against the idea he needs to rebuild trust with some in his party.
"I don't think that that's the issue as much as what we've got to do is spend time talking about the strategy to have victory for the people next year," he said.
Also Tuesday, Rauner told reporters that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a Republican, ought to drop his bid for office. A number of women, including one who was 14 at the time, have accused Moore of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Moore is seeking to win the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Several Republican lawmakers and governors have called for Moore to step aside.
"I believe what's been said is pretty clear that there's an issue there and he should step aside," Rauner said.
Rauner also made a campaign stop in Rockford on Tuesday. He was joined on his tour of Parr Instrument by Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms.