Anyone running for the state’s highest office should know the score.
Particularly now, in Illinois.
Voters here have plenty of good reasons not to trust politicians. For the sake of brevity, we’ll offer up just two.
In the wake of the recent scandals in Springfield, those hoping to win over voters’ trust need to be as open about themselves and their backgrounds as possible.
That includes opening income tax returns, a common practice among candidates running for major office. Such information can offer voters a better understanding of each candidate’s financial dealings, and perhaps his motivations on certain issues.
“The underlying reason for all of this is to lay bare any potential conflict of interest which may exist. It’s not just simply that the public has a right to be nosy,” Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, told The Associated Press. “What we’re trying to find out and understand is what kind of financial relationships exist.”
Unfortunately for Illinois voters, most candidates running for Illinois governor have not yet opened their tax returns to public scrutiny. Some are saying they have no plans to do so.
Republicans Bill Brady and Bob Schillerstrom said they wouldn’t release their tax information, as did Green Party candidate Rich Whitney. Republican Andy McKenna said he would release his returns only if everyone else did.
Other Republican candidates for governor either already have released their information or said they plan to. Adam Andrzejewski has posted his tax information online. Kirk Dillard said he plans to release his 2009 returns online, as do Dan Proft and Jim Ryan.
The top candidates on the Democratic side, Pat Quinn and Dan Hynes, said they would release their tax information as well.
Given the scandals surrounding the state’s two most immediate former governors, voters will apply extra scrutiny to openness and honesty as they evaluate each candidate.
Those candidates declining to open their tax records should reconsider.