Democrats in the Illinois House on Wednesday handed a significant defeat to Governor Pat Quinn. Fewer than half are willing to go along with his push to extend a higher income tax rate. That could mean significant cuts in state spending. Brian Mackey reports on how Democrats backed themselves into this corner, and where they go from here.
Quinn has for two months been asking lawmakers to make 2011’s temporary income tax hike permanent.
Illinois lawmakers are going back to the drawing board on a state spending plan. Although Gov. Pat Quinn and top Democrats have been pushing for an extension of a higher income tax rate, House Speaker Michael Madigan says there isn't enough support for that.
With Republicans uniformly opposed to keeping Illinois income tax rate at 5 percent -- instead of letting it drop as scheduled at the end of the year — both Quinn and Madigan have been working to get 60 Democratic members of the House on board.
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, House Democrats met behind closed doors.
Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is wading deeper into the debate over whether Illinois ought to extend a higher income tax rate. He's still refusing to say how he would manage the state budget.
The Rauner campaign says it's making robo-calls to voters in seven House districts. These are key Democrats in the budget debate — most have previously taken positions against the higher tax rate.
This week the Illinois House passed a spending bill that surpasses projected state revenues, leading to more debate over allowing the temporary income tax to expire. Also, judicial action has put the state's pension overhaul on hold.
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.
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?
Monday is day two of state Treasurer Dan Rutherford's three-day tour of Illinois. He's meeting with supporters to say he's officially running for governor. Rutherford has been laying the groundwork to run for years, making the formal announcement one of the least surprising events in Illinois politics. So we asked reporter Brian Mackey to find something about Rutherford's announcement that was surprising.