The temporary 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 at least $1.5 billion fewer dollars to spend next year.
Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) is chairman of the House Revenue Committee.
"The budget is going to be one of the, if not the big issue, as it generally is," Bradley said.
"But let's also take into account, we saw some pretty encouraging figures in terms of growth in sales tax revenues, growth in corporate activity."
It's unlikely Illinois can grow its way out of the funding gap created by the income tax rollback.
That's why the tax increase -- and whether to make it permanent -- is expected to be a big issue in this year's campaign for governor.
Gov. Pat Quinn isn't expected to say where he stands on the tax question until he gives his budget address -- which Quinn wants to delay until late March, after the primary election.
House Democrats went along with Quinn's request, but Speaker Mike Madigan says they'll keep working.
"The governor is asking for a delay, but here in the House, we're not asking for a delay. We're going to move forward," Madigan said.
This matters, because in recent years, the House has led the way on budget-making.