By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
Republican state Senate candidate Randy Frese said a new television ad by Sen. John Sullivan does not tell the whole story of Sullivan's voting record on taxes and legislative pay.
"The truth is, John is more than misleading the people of Western Illinois. By omitting the truth, he is lying," Frese said.
During a series of news conferences Wednesday, his fourth in as many weeks, Frese said he would set the record straight on Sullivan's vote in 2009 for a 67 percent income tax increase that was defeated and did not become law.
Frese said Sullivan does not mention that vote in a 60-second campaign ad that tells how the Rushville Democrat voted against Gov. Pat Quinn's 67 percent income tax hike in early 2011.
"When the governor proposed this tax increase, it just made no sense to me whatsoever," Sullivan said in the advertisement. "I voted against that. I mean, how could you even think about raising taxes on individuals and families and businesses at a time when the whole economy is moving in the wrong direction?"
Frese said Sullivan voted for House Bill 174 in 2009 before later opposing it, even though it would have represented a similar tax hike.
"I ask, was the spring (of 2009) the right time to pass a 67 percent tax increase?" Frese said.
Frese also revisited Sullivan's pay increases during his time in office. In 2002, Frese said, Sullivan received $57,619 as a freshman senator. This year, Sullivan's salary will be $82,775, which Frese said is nearly a 50 percent increase and is far higher than median income in Western Illinois. The base pay for a state senator is $67,836.
Part of Sullivan's higher pay reflects his position on the Democratic leadership team in the state Senate. His predecessor, Laura Kent Donahue, also received extra pay for being part of the Republican leadership team, as did former Republican state Rep. Art Tenhouse of Liberty.
Frese said leaders and committee chairmen should not receive higher pay.
"I won't accept a pay raise, and I won't accept a pension," he said.
Frese quoted Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, a Chicago Democrat who said approving pay raises through appropriations bills is wrong.
A recent poll shows Sullivan leading Frese by a 47-36 percent margin, down from a 60-25 advantage in a Senate Democratic poll taken in May. The survey of 1,156 likely voters was conducted Sept. 3 by We Ask America. The same poll showed that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney holds a 13-point lead over President Barack Obama among those same Western Illinois respondents.
Sullivan continues to recover from surgery to remove a cancerous growth in his abdomen.
Frese previously has called for bills coming up in the Illinois Legislature to be posted online at least 24 hours before a vote.