By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
State Sen. Bill Brady said if he had gotten 1 percent more votes in the 2010 election, he would be governor of Illinois.
The Republican from Bloomington told members of the Quincy Chamber of Commerce that the foundation he laid with voters four years ago gives him an edge over the other three candidates seeking the GOP nomination.
"The other (Republican) candidates are not tested and tried the way I was. That's why I'm best positioned to win the general election," Brady said.
Speaking at Sprout's Inn at a Tuesday luncheon, Brady refrained from most of the pointed criticisms of other GOP candidates. Instead, he praised Rep. Jil Tracy -- who was in attendance -- pointing her out as a fine member of the Illinois House and candidate for lieutenant governor.
Brady focused instead on his own plans if elected governor.
"I want to turn this state around," Brady said.
He wants to lower taxes in order to prompt business owners to create 100,000 additional jobs for each of the next few years. Brady said those jobs will bring in additional taxes as the economy expands. But he was quick to pledge no new taxes.
Brady does not consider the collection of sales taxes for online purchases as a new tax. He said people who buy items through Internet services are supposed to pay those taxes, but few do. He wants to see the state come up with a way to track and collect those taxes as a matter of fairness to local stores that do their part in collecting taxes.
Medicaid reform also would help the state's economy, Brady said. It has been estimated that 600,000 to 700,000 people who are now enrolled in the state's Medicaid program are not eligible for it. Brady pledged to order state officials to purge the rolls of those living in other states or failing to meet other qualifications.
, Brady said the cost per person for Medicaid coverage can run into thousands of dollars, so there could be significant savings.
Brady is not a fan of capital programs that depend on bonding, but he agrees that Illinois needs to repair infrastructure. Bonding programs lead to a feast-and-famine cycle, he said.
"If you do all these infrastructure projects in five years, first you only get about 70 cents on the dollar because you've got so much work that the market can't absorb it. Then you run out of money and for the next five years you can't" afford to do more projects, Brady said.
Border areas would benefit if the state eliminated, or at least reduced, its sales tax on fuels. Brady said fuel taxes were suspended temporarily when George Ryan was governor, and Illinois sales jumped during that time.
Brady got about 20 percent of the vote in Chicago four years ago. He hopes to do better if he gets the nomination this year after making inroads with black ministers and Latinos who he said "are finding out they're Republicans" on many issues.
"We met with 20 black ministers who oppose gay marriage" Brady said.
He discounted polls that show him far behind billionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner in the March 18 primary election. Brady said his own polls show him very close to Rauner's numbers.