Treasurer defends Illinois against Perry job grab

2013-04-22T17:23:00Z 2013-04-22T20:19:05Z Treasurer defends Illinois against Perry job grabKurt Erickson Lee Springfield Bureau nwitimes.com
April 22, 2013 5:23 pm  • 

SPRINGFIELD | A potential Republican candidate for governor says Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s visit to Illinois on Monday should sound an alarm to state leaders.

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who has been strongly hinting at a 2014 gubernatorial bid, said Illinois has excellent resources for businesses, but also some major flaws that need to be addressed.

“We have the worst credit rating in the country, a broken pension system and taxes have increased in recent years on businesses and individuals,” Rutherford said.

“We need to improve our business climate so we can better retain and attract businesses. We have some issues now, as highlighted by Gov. Perry, and we should make every effort to create a better environment where businesses can thrive right here in Illinois,” Rutherford said.

Perry, a Republican, is in Illinois this week as part of a broadcast and print advertising campaign designed to lure companies to the Lone Star State.

While Perry’s efforts have drawn scorn from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, Rutherford said he wants to be “constructively critical.”

“I’m standing up and saying Illinois is a good place to have a business,” the first-term treasurer said. “We need to go out there and highlight the attributes of Illinois.”

But, Rutherford said, businesses want Illinois’ leaders to tackle the state’s crushing pension debt, which would then potentially have an effect on whether lawmakers need to extend a temporary hike in the state income tax when it expires in 2014.

“That drives everything,” Rutherford said of the need for pension reform.

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