Illinois Is Short of Cash, But Next Governor Will Be Very Rich

(Bloomberg) -- Illinois is known for its money troubles. But the two men vying to become the next governor don’t share that problem.

On Tuesday, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who is running for a second term, and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker both released 2017 tax returns that the vast majority of Illinois residents would have reason to envy. Rauner, who was in the private equity business before turning to politics, and his wife reported $54.2 million in state taxable income last year. Pritzker’s joint return reported $55 million.

The wealth of the candidates stands in contrast to Illinois’s seemingly perpetual financial woes -- its $7.5 billion of unpaid bills, $137 billion of unfunded pension liabilities, and chronic budget deficits, to name a few. That’s left it with a bond rating that’s just a step above junk, lower than any other U.S. state.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates that Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt hotel empire, has a net worth of $3.3 billion, while Rauner amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from his time in finance. Combined, the two have spent millions for the prize of leading a financially troubled state.

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