Gov. Bruce Rauner came to an Addison manufacturer to talk taxes but shifted gears to state that sexual assault claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were "very serious."
"They deserve to be investigated," the Republican said of a woman's allegation the federal judge assaulted her at a party when they were in high school. If true, "I believe they should disqualify him," Rauner said.
Flanked by business leaders at SWD Inc., a metal finishing plant, Rauner continued to pound at Democratic rival J.B. Pritzker for proposing a graduated income tax and a miles-based tax to fund transportation.
Asked how he'd help Metra, whose leaders say they'll have to cut trains and close stations unless more state aid materializes, Rauner suggested borrowing to jump-start a capital bill and secure matching federal funds.
"I'm an anti-tax, anti-debt person," said Rauner, a Winnetka venture capitalist. "I don't like to borrow, but the appropriate place to borrow money is to fund infrastructure."
Rauner walked a fine line by saying Trump's tariffs on China are worrisome and that the White House has a stellar economic record.
"What's been happening in Washington has been mostly good on the economic front," Rauner said. "In Washington, they've cut the tax burden, reduced regulations and red tape, and fought against unfair trade deals."
Trump announced $500 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods Monday; China hit back with retaliatory fees on U.S. products. Some farmers and manufacturers in the suburbs say the result is reduced sales or higher costs.
"I understand the president's goal of renegotiating trade agreements with China," Rauner said. But "I'm very concerned," he said, adding he'd informed the Trump administration about fallout in Illinois.
Chicagoan Pritzker, a Hyatt hotel heir, countered that Illinois has among the nation's highest unemployment rates and a "junk" bond rating related to its debt crisis. The July unemployment rate in Illinois was 4.3 percent compared to the national average of 4.1 percent.
"Rauner's two-year budget crisis devastated the economy, and it will take years to recover," Pritzker said in a statement.
The two will debate at 6 p.m. Thursday on NBC 5.
•Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.