Budget FY15
3:03 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

You First ... No, You First: Tax Hike Timing

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago
Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago
Credit ilga.gov

The Illinois House will take the lead on whether Illinois keeps its 5 percent income tax. It's scheduled to roll back at the end of this year unless legislators take action.

It's happened in the past. The Illinois Senate will pass a controversial measure -- like a tax hike -- only for it to languish in the House.

Not this time.

Senate President John Cullerton says the Senate will vote on the tax question if and only if it first passes the House.

"We feel like the House should take this up first. We have more Democrats here who are supportive of the measure," Cullerton told WUIS/Illinois Public Radio Monday.

House Speaker Michael Madigan recently said he doesn't yet have the votes to pass Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to keep the higher rate.

Democrats hold supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

But the partisan ratio is most lopsided in the Senate, where there are 40 Democrats and 19 Republicans.

That's more than enough votes to pass a tax hike without any GOP support. But Cullerton says that's a difficult ask of Democrats, with an election ahead in November.

Though the GOP says Democrats are crying wolf, Cullerton says if Illinois lets its tax rate drop, it'll lead to devastating cuts.