State Budget: "It's All In Such A State Of Flux"
After a weekend break, Senators will return to Springfield this afternoon, as the calendar draws closer to the scheduled May 31 adjournment.
While the end of the month is a key date, it's another one, about a half a year away, that will largely guide much of what happens these next few weeks: the November election.
Gov. Pat Quinn is calling for an extension of Illinois' income tax rates, and he has the support of the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate. They all say it's a better choice than the devastating cuts that are coming if the tax rolls back. While there are enough Democrats to get it through, legislators have their own elections to think about.
Quinn will be hard-pressed to win over Democrats who promised the 2011 tax hike was going to be temporary, or who have a competitive race for re-election.
That's a bigger obstacle in the House, than in the Senate. And Northbrook Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a leading Democrat, says members are split on the best approach.
"I'm not making any predictions right now, it's all in such a state of flux and every legislator I talk to about the budget and what they'd like to see, how they'd like to see it resolved, has a different idea," Nekritz says. "Until we get 60 that are on the same page, it's going to be a real challenge."
Especially as Republicans, including Quinn's challenger, Bruce Rauner, say the threats of cuts are overblown.
*This story has been updated to reflect Rep. Nekritz's hometown of Northbrook, not Evanston