SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A new poll conducted by WCIA, The Hill and Emerson College shows that the top issue on voters’ minds this election is the economy with 35.3% of those polled saying this was the most important issue in determining how they will vote come November. That number is even higher for Illinoisans outside of Chicago.
Voters face high gas prices, taxes, and a rising cost of living as they pick the next governor.
Both Governor J.B. Pritzker and Republican candidate for governor Senator Darren Bailey are taking their own approaches to addressing these problems.
“It’s at moments like these that we need thoughtful and creative solutions that provide financial relief for Illinois families,” Pritzker said in a news conference in August.
Pritzker said those solutions came in this year’s budget. Part of the budget allocated $1.8 billion towards tax relief on groceries, gas, and school supplies.
“Our parents shouldn’t have to choose between buying essential school supplies for their children and putting food on the kitchen table,” Pritzker said during the same news conference.
Some people also received income and property tax rebates.
“These rebate payments are just one in a series of actions that we’re taking to provide some financial cushion in these times,” Pritzker said in September when announcing the rollout of the rebates.
Bailey said this temporary relief isn’t enough to address the problem.
“Pritzker still refuses to call a special session to address significant issues like crime, inflation, taxes, and more, everything that’s affecting families here in Illinois,” Bailey said during a news conference in July.
Not only are both candidates focused on inflation, they’re also focusing on how the state uses its money.
“Democrats have worked together to deliver a fourth balanced budget in a row, and it’s the second in a row with a surplus,” Pritzker said in April when he signed the budget. “Our state is in its strongest fiscal position in generations.”
Pritzker has touted his success in balancing the budget after facing years of deficit.
But Bailey believes the state needs to reduce its spending.
“We will demand a zero based budget where every department starts at zero and will make a case for every penny spent,” Bailey said after he won the Republican nomination for governor in June.
If elected, Bailey plans to implement permanent tax relief, but that would require major budget cuts which would need to pass both chambers.
Pritzker’s second in command, Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, said it’s more about the record than the promises.
“He hasn’t voted for any of this type of relief for families,” Stratton said. “And he hasn’t voted to make sure that we get a budget passed, I mean, he has been against everything that we have been focused on to try to continue to lift our state up. So this is not an example where we see Darren Bailey, who makes quote, unquote, promises. It’s not about promises. It’s about delivering on what you say you’re going to do.”