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Rauner proposes lower Illinois income tax

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner said Thursday he wants to lower Illinois' income tax rate, freeze property taxes and impose a new sales tax on some services, a plan he said would help improve the economy and grow jobs but that Gov. Pat Quinn dismissed as "a dumb idea."

Rauner unveiled his plan at a family-owned manufacturing plant in Schaumburg, where he said Quinn's policies - including his support for raising the income tax - have created a hostile business climate and caused people to flee the state.

"His track record is atrocious," the businessman from Winnetka said.

Quinn countered that he helped lead Illinois out of a recession and said Rauner's plan to tax services such as trash collection and interior decorating would hurt "everyday people."

"This is a dumb idea and I don't believe people in Illinois are going to buy it whatsoever," the Chicago Democrat said following a stop at a Chicago technical school, where he announced he was expanding a training program for construction jobs.

Quinn also touted Thursday's announcement that Illinois' unemployment dropped to 7.1 percent in June - the lowest it's been since October 2008. The Illinois rate in June was still higher than the national level of 6.1 percent.

But Rauner's campaign was unimpressed.

"We need to do better," Spokesman Mike Schrimpf said.

Quinn and other Democrats increased Illinois' income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent for individuals in 2011. It's set to drop to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1, though Quinn and Democratic leaders want to make the 5 percent rate permanent in order to avoid a multibillion-dollar budget hole and cuts to education, social services and other areas.

Rauner wants to roll the rate back to 3 percent over four years. He also said he'd seek legislation to freeze the property tax and require any new property tax hikes to be approved by voters.

Rauner says the new 5 percent tax on services would focus on "luxury" items, such as charter flights and golf club memberships. But his plan also included other, more typically used services such as sewer service and mini-storage. He says "day-to-day" services such as laundromats and day cares would be exempted. Altogether, he projected the new taxes would bring in about $600 million per year.

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