Quinn finds Rauner tax strategy 'extremely disturbing'

Clout Street

Gov. Pat Quinn today seized on a Tribune report about Republican Bruce Rauner’s taxes to reinforce a campaign theme that the challenger is out of touch with regular people.

Quinn's comments came during an event marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. The Democratic governor tried to stay on that topic but offered up brief criticisms of his wealthy opponent when asked.

"When I got up this morning, I said 'this is a day to honor the memory of all of those who fought to get the Civil Rights Act passed,'' Quinn said. "There will be time to talk about the issue you raised, it's extremely disturbing, and I think it should be brought out but I don't want to talk about that one today."

Quinn, however, left the stage without taking follow-up questions about what he specifically found disturbing.

A Tribune analysis of limited records released by Rauner found he took advantage of tax-reducing strategies largely out of reach for those of more modest means. IRS data shows Rauner is one of the 11,000 richest tax filers in the nation, but most of the millions he made in recent years was taxed at 15 percent — less than half the top federal rate for the wealthy.

In a Tribune interview focused on his taxes, Rauner said his returns "very carefully" adhered to the tax code and that he paid everything owed. At the same time, he said he could not recall some details surrounding losses he claimed and deductions he took.

"My income is based upon a whole lot of things. It's capital gains through carried interest. It's through management fees I get across all the funds," said Rauner, who characterized his earnings as "lumpy" because they fluctuated widely from year to year.

The governor spoke at the Quinn Chapel AME Church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in Chicago, where he signed a measure extending the state's African-American Family Commission. The group monitors laws and state programs to monitor the impact on the African-American community.

The Democratic governor has counted heavily on the support of African-American and Latino voters, though Rauner has sought to make inroads among those groups. Rauner recently launched a Latino commission and has been courting churches, winning the endorsement of Rev. James Meeks, a former Democratic state senator who heads Salem Baptist Church of Chicago.

Twitter @moniquegarcia

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