CARBONDALE — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s “Shake Up Springfield” bus tour made a stop Tuesday at the Italian Village restaurant in Carbondale.

Rauner called Illinois the worst run state in America, citing high unemployment, deficits and deteriorating schools.

The former chairman of the private equity firm GTCR believes Illinois needs to be run like a business to rescue it from its economic problems.

“Our current government is failing us miserably,” Rauner said. “I know I can turn this state around again. I’ve been a successful business executive my whole life and we need to run this state more like a business.”

The Chicago businessman said his campaign will focus on four things – creating more jobs, reducing taxes, developing better schools and setting term limits of eight years for all politicians.

Rauner said the tax code should be strategically examined to make Illinois more competitive for businesses. He advocated rolling back the Quinn-Madigan tax hike.

“That’s one of the reasons why our economy did worse and our employment went up was because of that tax hike,” Rauner said. “We should take that back down to 3 percent where it was.”

Rauner would not rule out minimum wage increases or decreases, but he said any change to the minimum wage should be a comprehensive approach that makes labor regulations and the tax burden more attractive to small businesses and improves the education system.

“The real way to raise wages and prosperity is to have a booming economy where companies are competing to hire people, along with a great education system,” Rauner said.

Rauner’s bus tour will take him to 30 communities around the state. On Tuesday, Rauner also spoke in Marion, and he will make a stop in McLeansboro today.

Dan Rutherford, R-Pontiac; Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; Kirk Dillard, R-Westmont; and Rauner will all be seeking the GOP nomination for governor in the March 18 primary election.

618-351-5074

Chris Hottensen is the entertainment and features reporter for The Southern Illinoisan.

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