As Governor Quinn took main stage in the house chamber, he probably couldn't help but notice five familiar faces in the crowd; the five men who want to take his job.
"Together, we've weathered the worst man-made storm in our state's history. We've led Illinois' comeback one hard step at a time. We've worked to repair decades of damage."
That was the theme of the governor's fifth State of the State address; that Illinois is making a comeback. His competition says, not so much.
"Maybe so in his mind, but when you really get down to it and look at where we're trending in the unemployment rate and what the projects are this coming year, they're not good."
"How can you make a comeback when Illinois is fourth in the nation when it comes to unemployment? And in the year 2013, we were number two in the nation. There's no excuse for that."
Absent from Quinn's speech was a solution for the state's revenue problem. The temporary tax increase from 2011 is set to go away starting next year.
"What's he going to do with the 67% income tax increase that he promised would be temporary?"
"The biggest thing I hear from families and businesses across the state is, 'am I going to have to continue to pay for that 5% tax increase?'"
Quinn says he can continue to make a difference if given the time. His opponents say he's had enough.
"He's been governor for five years. Now, he's saying, 'here's our five year plan going forward.' Our unemployment rate has gone up more than any other Midwest state in his tenure."
But, Quinn says Illinois is working.
"We're getting the job done. Let's keep our shoulder to the wheel and finish the job."
Quinn will lay out his plan for next year's state budget on February 19.
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