Pensions
6:15 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Quinn Not Ready To Talk Taxes

Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Though he supported Illinois' income tax hike in the past, Governor Pat Quinn is so far unwilling to take a stance on whether it should expire.

This fiscal year, Illinois is putting $6.8 billion toward pensions. An amount that's more than covered by how much money the state took in from a higher income tax rate -- the increase alone is projected to pull in almost $8 billion this year.

But that raises the question: how will Illinois function when the income tax revenues begin to decrease?

The state's 5 percent income tax rate is scheduled to drop to 3.75 percent in just over a year.

Gov. Pat Quinn isn't ready to go there. "One thing at a time. Let's try and focus on what is right before us right now," he said.

Quinn was asked repeatedly Tues., Oct. 22, if he'd support an extension of the 5-percent tax rate, but continually declined: "I think in terms of fiscal issues, there's a paramount issue right now. That's the pension reform. We've been working on it for months. We cannot step back."

Regardless of the governor's focus, an expiration of the tax increase will leave a gap in the state budget, bigger than the one caused by pensions -- and lawmakers will have to deal with that, too.