Public finances, government efficiency, infrastructure funding among topics candidates discuss at forum
MPC recognizes W. James Farrell, retired CEO and chairman of Illinois Tool Works, Inc., with 80th Anniversary Champion Fighter Award
(Chicago) … The two main candidates for Illinois governor, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Bruce Rauner (R), spoke at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) Annual Luncheon on Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park. Nearly 1,000 civic, business and community leaders attended the luncheon to hear the candidates’ responses to questions about public finances, transportation funding, flooding, housing and government efficiency.
Rauner called for a "total overhaul of the state's tax code." He stated his support for lowering the state's sales tax rate while expanding it to business services. He said he does not support raising the state's gas tax, but that the state "needs to look creatively at every opportunity for public-private partnerships," to fund transportation infrastructure. He also stated his support for using performance measures to make transportation investment decisions. Rauner noted he would explore incentives to pair the development of affordable housing near transit. He also noted that he would create a commission to explore near-term opportunities to streamline government.
Gov. Quinn also stated support for performance measures to identify transportation investments, and said the state can continue to invest in transportation infrastructure by "closing loopholes." He stated that he does not support raising the gas tax. On the topic of government efficiency, he said "We don't want to live in the land of bureaucracy" and lauded DuPage County and Evanston for measures taken to streamline government services. Quinn also expressed support for expanding the Welcome Home Illinois home loan program to stabilize the state's housing supply.
“We’ve hosted a forum with the Illinois gubernatorial candidates each election cycle since 1998 to shed light on their plans to solve some of the most complex and pressing challenges facing our region and the state,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett. “The non-debate forum allows us to go in-depth on these issues.”
The questions posed to each candidate, all of which related to MPC initiatives, were as follows:
- What are your specific ideas for new revenues as well as cuts in spending to address both the budget gap and deficit?
- Do you support raising Illinois’ gas tax? If not, what new revenues do you propose to dedicate to transportation infrastructure, if any?
- To get more “bang for the buck,” do you support using performance measures to select Illinois’ transportation investments—for instance, prioritizing new road or transit projects that measurably improve access to jobs, reduce air pollution and spark nearby economic development?
- What can the state do to more efficiently direct dedicated and new revenues to repair and replace traditional water infrastructure—pipes, pumps and sewers—and to reward communities that invest in “green” infrastructure, such as green roofs and bioswales?
- What is your plan to improve the efficiency and quality of local government service delivery, and to get to the right number of local governments in Illinois?
- In light of declining state and federal resources for housing, social services and community development, how would you allocate resources to ensure affordable housing investment in both profitable markets and those that are distressed?
For 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow.
“The Metropolitan Planning Council is an organization with a clear vision for the Chicago region,” said Scott Swanson, PNC Bank’s regional president for Illinois. “PNC supports MPC because we believe in a region with a strong economy and vibrant communities.” PNC Bank was the Presenting Sponsor of the luncheon.
MPC not only educates people about solutions to the problems that stymie our growth, but also actively partners with governments at all levels, including the State of Illinois. For example, in May 2013, MPC released Immeasurable Loss, a report that showed our region loses enough Lake Michigan water each week to overflow Willis Tower. The report offered several solutions, and in 2014, the Ill. Dept. of Natural Resources has been pursuing a number of MPC’s recommendations. Similarly, MPC’s December 2013 report, Chicago Demands Transportation Management, has spurred the Ill. Dept. of Transportation to include in its Long-Range Transportation Plan a five-year pilot that will give Chicago-area commuters the information and inspiration they need to try alternatives to driving alone to work.
Champion Fighter Award
Also at the luncheon, MPC Board member Lester Crown presented W. James Farrell, retired CEO and chairman of Illinois Tool Works, Inc., with the 80th Anniversary Champion Fighter Award for his determined work to ensure a sustainable, equitable and competitive future for the Chicago region. The Champion Fighter Award, presented by MPC periodically to notable business and civic leaders, places special emphasis on community engagement and philanthropy.
“I’m truly honored to receive MPC’s Champion Fighter Award,” said Mr. Farrell. “I’ve learned that when you work hard, and work together, you can help give everyone a chance to win. That’s what MPC is all about. And why I’m especially pleased to accept this award.”
PNC Bank was the Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 Annual Luncheon, marking the bank’s ninth year in that role.
The Allstate Insurance Company, BlueCross and BlueShield of Illinois, BMO Harris Bank, The Crown Family, Globetrotters Engineering Corporation, The Harris Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Walgreens were Lead Sponsors of the event. Benefactors of the event were Bank of America; The Boeing Company; Rita and John Canning; Cole Taylor Bank; ComEd, an Exelon Company; Jim Gordon, Greg Jones and Dave Tolmie, The Edgewater Funds; John S. Gates, Jr.; Grosvenor Capital Management; Illinois Tool Works, Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. John H. Krehbiel, Jr.; McDonald’s Corporation; Northern Trust; PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Wintrust Financial Corporation.
A full list of sponsors is available on MPC’s website: http://www.metroplanning.org/2014luncheon
About PNC Bank
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (www.pnc.com) is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services. Follow @PNCNews on Twitter for breaking news, updates and announcements from PNC.
Since 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been dedicated to shaping a more sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region. As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, MPC serves communities and residents by developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional growth. Follow @Metroplanners on Twitter, or visit our website at www.metroplanning.org.
The hashtag for this year's luncheon was #answers2014.