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State Government

State of the State: Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to cut taxes, doesn't specify how

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to several chamber of commerce Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, during a luncheon at the Bolingbrook Golf Club in Bolingbrook, Ill.
Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to several chamber of commerce Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, during a luncheon at the Bolingbrook Golf Club in Bolingbrook, Ill.

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to roll back income taxes but did not identify how in his State of the State address.

The Republican has previously said he wants to reverse the income tax increase the Legislature approved last summer. It went from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. He said Wednesday that "we cannot tax and borrow our way into prosperity" and urged lawmakers to "curb spending" and boost job growth.

But he gave no specifics.

Rauner will give his budget address in two weeks.

Rauner is trotting out familiar goals for the coming legislative session: Lowering property taxes and term limits for politicians.

The Republican noted in his State of the State address Wednesday that he has signed an executive order prohibiting legislators from working to lower property tax assessments before state regulators. He has accused House Speaker Michael Madigan from profiting from high property taxes because his law firm represents owners appealing their assessments. Madigan says he follows the law and a strict personal code of conduct.

Rauner says he will continue pushing to lower local property taxes through voter referendum.

He says 80 percent of Illinois voters support term limits. He urged legislators to "Put term limits on the ballot and let the people decide."

Rauner says he's "investigating the possibility" of replacing the plumbing at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy which has harbored Legionnaire's disease for two years. His administration has been criticized for the response that has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents and sickened many residents and staff members.

Rauner said earlier this month that he would replace the plumbing system. That was after he spent a week staying at the home to get a look at operations there. Legionnaire's is a pneumonia-like illness that is caused by bacteria in water vapor that is inhaled.

The governor said Jan. 10 that he had decided to replace the plumbing at the 200-acre site. But in his State of the State address Wednesday, he stopped short of that. He also says a new dormitory could be built there.

Rauner is signing an executive order to improve the reporting process for victims of sexual harassment.

The order creates a chief compliance office and requires reviews of harassment allegations in 10 days or less.

Rauner made the statement as part of his annual State of the State address. He says the #MeToo movement to stop sexual harassment last fall revealed shortcomings in the process under the Capitol dome.

It included an allegation by a legislative activist of sexual harassment against a state senator. The legislative inspector general found no evidence of harassment but said the senator acted unprofessionally.

Rauner says "transparency and accountability were sacrificed for optics and speed."

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