Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield Monday to begin the final two weeks of the spring legislative session. The big question remains whether Democratic leaders can convince enough rank-and-file lawmakers ... to make a higher income tax rate permanent.
Although Gov. Pat Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton, and House Speaker Michael Madigan all support making the temporary 5-percent income tax rate permanent — Madigan in particular has had a hard time getting fellow House Democrats to go along.
Taxes have been in the spotlight at the state Capitol this spring, most visibly the fate of the state's income tax rates. But another tax plan, floated by Governor Pat Quinn, is also attracting ire of Republicans and economists alike.
Governor Quinn's plan for the Illinois budget calls for extending the state's 5-percent income tax rate, instead of allowing it roll back.
It's coupled with a $500 property tax rebate for every homeowner in Illinois.
How much you'll pay in state taxes next year remains an open question, even as the Illinois House Thursday approved dozens of spending bills, that rely on a permanently higher tax rate. It sets the stage for a budget battle, just weeks before legislators are set to adjourn for the summer.
The Illinois House convened at 8 o’clock Thursday morning, and spent most of a very long day on the budget. Lawmakers began with a debate on funding Illinois' public education system, giving schools a slight increase over this year.
A tax on millionaires is advancing through the General Assembly ... at the expense of a progressive income tax.
The so-called "Millionaire's Tax" would levy a three percent surcharge on income over a $1 million. House Speaker Michael Madigan says that should raise about a billion dollars, which Illinois would send exclusively to schools.
"My judgment was that it helps education and it calls upon those in the society that are better able to help fund education than others."
Plenty can, and will, happen before voters go to the polls in November to chose their next governor. But a central theme of the campaign emerged Wednesday, when Gov. Pat Quinn proposed making permanent what was supposed to have been a temporary hike in the state's income tax. His Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, favors letting the increase lapse. Their competing visions mean a lot is at stake ahead of the upcoming election, as well as for the state's future.
Illinois lawmakers are beginning to confront the huge hole expected in next year's state budget. The temporary income tax increase of a few years ago is set to roll back at the end of this year. Lawmakers are being told Illinois will have $1.58 billion less to spend next year.
"The budget is going to be one of the, if not the big issue, as it generally is," said Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion).
Bradley is chairman of the House Revenue Committee.
An Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal years in the making is up-and-running today. It gives businesses and individuals who have problems with their tax bills a new avenue to get them overturned. Still there are early concerns over who Gov. Pat Quinn has nominated to serve as the tribunal's Chief Administrative Law Judge.
Say a business doesn't agree with how much the state Department of Revenue says it owes in sales taxes. Before, it had two options: fight the tax bill in court (though that costs time and money) or plead the case to the Department of Revenue.