Quinn, Rauner knock heads at first 2014 joint appearance - Fox 2 News Headlines

Quinn, Rauner knock heads at first 2014 joint appearance

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Bruce Rauner and Gov. Pat Quinn. Bruce Rauner and Gov. Pat Quinn.
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, faced off for the first time Friday fielding questions from unionized public school teachers who are unhappy with both men.

Many of the 1,100 IEA teachers union activists at Friday's forum may never forgive Gov. Quinn for signing into law last year's public employee pension reforms. He had a simple message for those who routinely call it the "Pension Theft Law."

"I know you disagree with me on the pension issue. But, please, don't compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative, over here," said Gov. Quinn.

The alternative being Republican Bruce Rauner. He told the union activists Quinn had broken one promise after another to them.

"Years ago, he said he would not change your pension. And he did," Rauner stated.

Rauner said that he opposed reducing any pension rights that public employees have already earned.

Rauner's plan would not allow them to earn any additional pension credits, shifting government workers into a second retirement system similar to the private sector's 401(k) funds. Rauner claims that would eventually free up more tax dollars for the state's struggling public schools.

"We're 49th out of 50 states in state support for education. I want to move us up dramatically in that ranking," added Rauner.

Quinn claimed Rauner's opposition to raising taxes would hurt education funding. He mocked Rauner's plan to use tax dollars for new charter schools that would give families an alternative to existing public schools.

"We have over 2 million students in public schools in Illinois. I'm not gonna' characterize this system of education in Illinois," said Gov. Quinn.

In the end, union activists gave Gov. Quinn their loudest cheers.

However, they did give Rauner a respectful hearing, even when he reiterated previous criticism of government unions. It was one of the year's very best campaign forums.

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