Candidates for Illinois Governor square off

By WEEK Reporter

January 24, 2014 Updated Jan 24, 2014 at 11:39 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The March primary is less than two months away.

Thursday night in Peoria, the four Republican candidates for Governor debated the issues.

The candidates, for the most part, restrained themselves from bashing each other. They focused instead on how poorly, they say, the state has fared under the Quinn administration.

All of the candidates said they want to see the state run in a more business-like fashion, and all agreed that changing the way Illinois educates its children is a major objective.

"What we should do is study how some of the best run states around America fund their education and compare and contrast what we do with them, and steal their best ideas," said Bruce Rauner. "Education is the single most important thing we do together collectively as a community.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said he would be in favor of changing the tax system that supports the schools, with one stipulation.

"If it was a local decision and the local district, whether it be county or school district, were the ones to help make that decision," said State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

Senator Kirk Dillard blames the city of Chicago for taking more than a billion dollars more in school funding than he says is needed. Dillard is looking for more equality in funding.

"For too long this state has been controlled by one city and it doesn't bode well for school funding," said Sen. Dillard. "The best way to close that gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is to close that gap and for the state to do its share on education."

Bloomington Senator Bill Brady said funding for education is dependent on improving the state's economy.

"The truth of the matter is we're never going to have enough money for education until we rebuild Illinois' economy," said Sen. Brady. "We've got to have a Governor that will focus like a laser on bringing jobs back to this state."

All four candidates touted their elect-ability, something the public will decide in March.