Sales tax increase proponent Daiber enters gubernatorial race
Noted sales tax increase proponent Robert Daiber has officially become a 2018 candidate for the Democratic Party primary race for governor.
Other declared candidates for the Democratic nomination include Chicago alderman Ameya Pawar and businessman Chris Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy and nephew of late U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
The 60-year-old Daiber is a lead proponent of a 1 percent sales tax referendum set to go before Madison County voters in early April. Supporters of the ballot item insist the revenue would be used to pay for school construction costs in the area.
The longtime Madison County schools superintendent announced his candidacy by singing the state’s praises and touting his experience as an illustration of someone who's more than qualified to handle the critical challenges Illinois now faces.
“Illinois is a great state not talked about anymore because budget problems overshadow all its greatness,” he said.
Daiber lamented how in recent times that hasn’t been nearly enough to keep the state from the depths of a spiraling budget crisis that now has it some $7 billion in the red and still trending downward.
“I don’t know how many candidates have been a member of organized labor or paid union dues or been president of a local union -- I’ve done all three,” he said.
Without making mention of often criticized, longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) — who also happens to be the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, which controls the Illinois General Assembly — Daiber directly called out Gov. Bruce Rauner for what he called failed efforts to right any of the state’s many hardships.
“Gov. Rauner promised to shake it up and he has,” Daiber said. “Our state has become a jumbo mess. Most people want the governor to do as he should do and that is to submit a budget. That would be my first order of business.”
Illinois has now gone 18 months and counting without a budget. Daiber said a proposal laid out by Rauner for 2017 wasn’t met with enthusiasm.
The same holds true for the so-called "grand bargain" proposal still being hammered out by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).
“We can’t look at ourselves as a state where business is going to be done with outlining a budget,” he said.
Launching his campaign with just $20,000 of his own money, Daiber faces an uphill battle against other more well-known and well-funded candidates for the Democratic Party nomination.
“I’m not from wealth, not a state-ranking official at this time, and do not have the blessing of a high political mentor,” Daiber said. “But what I have is grassroots support — I believe (it) is second to none. Middle-class family, but do not consider myself any less than any candidate who may be running.”
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