| CHICAGO, April 6
CHICAGO, April 6 Billionaire investor J.B.
Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotels Corp fortune, formally
entered a growing Democratic field for Illinois governor on
Thursday, labeling Republican Bruce Rauner a "failure" as the
state's chief executive.
Pritzker’s bid pits him against Chicago businessman Chris
Kennedy, son of the late U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy, and three
other Democratic candidates in the party's March 20, 2018
"Governor Bruce Rauner is a failure. He promised a
turnaround and all we got was a runaround," Pritzker told
supporters at a Chicago Park District gymnasium on the city's
Illinois, the country’s fifth-largest state, is immersed in
one of the most politically turbulent eras in its 199-year
Rauner has feuded with Democrats, who control the state
legislature, over his insistence that a state budget be tied to
a list of his policy demands that would weaken unions, impose
legislative term limits, freeze property taxes and impose new
rules on injured workers seeking compensation from their
With House Speaker Michael Madigan and fellow Democrats
blocking that agenda, Illinois has been without a complete
budget during Rauner's first two years in office. The fiscal
futility has left Illinois - the only state ever to go 22 months
without a budget - with nearly $13 billion of unpaid bills as of
"We've got to start by taxing the millionaires and
billionaires first. We're not going to middle-class families
until we get people to pay their fair share," Pritzker told
reporters after his announcement.
Pritzker, the 52-year-old brother of former U.S. Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker, is positioned as the wealthiest
candidate in the race so far, with a net worth estimated by
Forbes at $3.4 billion.
Rauner, a former private equity investor, does not appear on
the Forbes list, but enters a re-election bid with plentiful
resources of his own.
Last November, the governor released his 2015 tax returns
that showed he and his wife had more than $188 million in
taxable income. A month later, he steered $50 million in
personal funds into his campaign account, state records show.
The state Republican Party attacked Pritzker on Thursday by
linking him to the long-serving Democratic House speaker and
insisting Pritzker favored a reinstatement of the state's 5
percent individual income tax.
In January 2015, the state income tax dropped to 3.75
percent after a temporary 2011 tax increase lapsed.
(Reporting by Dave McKinney, editing by G Crosse)