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Illinois Gov. Rauner pays $18M in personal taxes as his state fails to pay bills

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Bruce Rauner

In this Tuesday, July 21, 2015 file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to members of the press outside his office at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield Ill.  (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

Lottery winners, child-care programs and others may not be getting millions of dollars owed to them from Illinois, but the IRS is.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner paid $18 million on his personal state and federal taxes on income of $58.3 million in 2014, his office announced Friday.

Rauner — whose net worth is believed to be at or near $1 billion as the former chairman of a Chicago private equity firm — paid an effective income tax rate of 26.1 percent in 2014, according to the statement. His tax bills included $15.2 million in federal taxes and $2.8 million in state taxes.

Rauner, a Republican, won election last November with a campaign that touted his lack of any governmental experience as a plus, and vowed to run Illinois like a business.

Rauner's government is now in the fourth month of operating with no state budget due to a showdown between him and the Democrat-controlled Legislature. Rauner has demanded pro-business policy changes in the state before he will sign off on a budget, and the Legislature has so far refused.

The showdown has resulted in state facility closures, unpaid bills, and cutbacks on state child-care program funding.

The state lottery also is issuing IOUs for any winnings over $600. Lottery winners are suing in federal court, alleging the state owes them some $288 million.

Among Rauner's critics over the stalemate is former Gov. Jim Edgar, a popular Republican who served two terms in the 1990s.

“We can’t hold the budget hostage for other issues," Edgar recently said during a lecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, according to the Illinois Radio Network. "The governor talks about economic turnaround, I think some of his proposals are good. But I think we have to set priorities, and the priority, I believe, is the budget.”

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Related to this story

Illinois' failure to pay out winnings to big lottery winners — well, anything over $600 — has captured much of the national media attention over the state's near-bankruptcy status.

That's an attention-getter sure to grab headlines, particularly after a pair of lottery winners filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery for failing to pay them. Latest news on the crisis: no Christmas décor at the state Capitol because of the budget impasse.

Since the terribly unwise Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 equated speech with money, the wealthy have been speaking ever more loudly and exerting even greater influence in America’s political process than before.

In the money race for the presidential election, 60 huge donations had made up about one-third of the total contributions to candidates by August. But big money in politics isn’t just about the biggest office. The affluent are making their voices heard loudly at the state and local level, too.

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