State Sen. Daniel Biss said Monday he's running for IL governor in 2018, joining a growing field of Democrats hoping to unseat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
"We got to fix our tax system", Biss said as he announced his gubernatorial bid on Monday. "We have to do it". That starts by getting rid of this provision in the constitution that was put there nearly 50 years ago by special interests that says that we can't tax the wealthiest IL residents, who have been the beneficiaries of economic growth in the last two generations. "People across our state are hurting because of the nightmare of the last two years caused by Bruce Rauner", Biss said while seated in a Chicago office.
In an office room with workers seated behind him, Biss, a state representative for the 17th District before being elected to the Senate in 2012, pledged to fix a system that has compelled many residents to leave IL.
"Right now, it is a unique moment in our state", Biss said. "We haven't had a budget for more than 20 months and this crisis is causing jobs and people leaving IL".
When asked about career politicians, most notably Madigan, Biss claimed to go against the political machine.
A Facebook follower during Biss' livestream asked him whether it's time for Madigan to go; Biss said he has always been clear that Madigan has been in Springfield too long and noted that he has introduced a (stalled) proposal to limit all legislative leaders' terms. He served in the Illinois House from 2011 to 2012 and has been in the state Senate since 2013.
He has also been an outspoken critic of Rauner, a Republican who has led the state for the past two years and will seek another term.
Still, Biss called his platform a movement for the people, perhaps senior citizens most of all.
"We need access to care for seniors across the state", Biss said.
Despite his criticism of Rauner, Biss said the the problems IL faces can not be distilled to one man. "The problems are not about a person, they're about a broken system".
"Illinois billionaires and machine politicians have a monopoly on political power", Biss said, by way of endorsing moving from a constitutionally mandated flat tax to a progressive one that he says would force the wealthy to pay their share.
Like any other challenger, Biss will have an uphill battle when it comes to competing with Rauner's campaign war chest, which the governor personally contributed $50 million of his own money to in December. "No state has been in this situation before". As many problems as IL has been through before Bruce Rauner became governor, understand this: Bruce Rauner became governor, and IL has now gone through a budget stalemate it has never experienced before in its history.