GALESBURG — Democratic candidate for state treasurer Mike Frerichs of Champaign stopped by The Register-Mail this week to outline the tenets of his campaign, as well as clear the air on issues he said were stirred up by his GOP opponent Tom Cross.
Cross of Oswego has recently dubbed Frerichs “Tax Hike Mike” and has accused Frerichs of trying to include services in the sales tax equation.
Frerichs said that’s blown out of proportion.
“In one interview I said we ought to consider looking at our entire tax system,” Frerichs said. “There is no Frerich’s plan out there.”
He said in that interview he had mentioned a few examples of what the state could consider, including taxing services and Cross jumped all over him for it.
Notably, Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner has also proposed taxing services.
The tax debate has been one Cross has hammered Frerichs over since the primary election this March.
But on Thursday teachers were fresh on Frerich’s mind when he pulled into town. Right before Frerichs came to Galesburg he had received an official endorsement from the Illinois Educators Association, the largest teacher interest group in the state.
“Anytime you can have the support of an organization with 130,000 members in the state who also have spouses and children, that is a big boost of momentum to the campaign,” Frerichs said. “But I also think most everyone in the state realizes if we are going to be successful in the long term and if we’re going to grow the state, we need to have a well educated work force.”
Cross was quick to criticize Frerichs for his IEA endorsement on his campaign website and Twitter. His website JoinTomCross.com feautres a quote from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schnieder lampooning Frerichs for partnering with the IEA because of their ties to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
“Both Frerichs and Gov. Quinn promised to make education a priority, but both broke that promise with funding cuts and a failure to support teachers, students, and families alike,” Schneider said on the website. “We’ve tried the Quinn/Frerichs plan, and we’ve seen the results for Illinois. It’s time for a new direction.”
Frerichs said Cross is just jealous.
“My opponent has been dismissive of this, but he doesn’t point out he fought very hard for this endorsement,” Frerichs said. “He went and answered their questions, made phone calls and tried to get this in. Once he lost the endorsement he had a case of sour grapes.”
Frerichs took some shots at Cross while he was here, notably accusing him of running for the wrong job.
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