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01/30/2009

Governor Fall Guy?

By pushing back the date of his budget address from February 18th to March 18th, Illinois governor Pat Quinn has bought some time to prepare for his first big political as well as gubernatorial challenge. Not only does Quinn have to get legislative leaders to agree on a plan to close the massive budget deficit (some estimates as high as 5 billion dollars), the new governor must also avoid being tagged as the "fall guy" responsible for the likely tax increase in the spending plan. During his first 24 hours as governor, Quinn said it was not time to discuss plans he might have to run for a full term in 2010. But University of Illinois political science professor Dick Simpson said, "the past pattern has been that if the governor increased the income tax he is no longer elected governor". To secure his viability as a candidate, Quinn could insist that the legslative leaders of both parties join him at any tax increase-related announcements. It also might be a good idea to invite Attorney General Lisa Madigan, long-rumored to be a 2010 democratic primary challenger for what is now Quinn's job.

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