Lack of Support For Tax Extension Dooms Illinois Budget; Lawmakers To Start Over

May 21, 2014

Credit state of Illinois

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.

But Wednesday afternoon, Madigan admitted defeat.

"We took a vote in the House Democratic caucus. There were 34 members of the caucus voting yes. There were a little over 30 voting no."

Because of that, Madigan says he's asking chairmen of the House appropriations committees to begin drafting a leaner budget. The reduction of the 2011 tax increase is projected to leave a huge hole in state revenues, which officials warn could lead to massive cuts in education, health care, policing, and other state services.

Madigan says he'll continue to try to get members on board with the governor's plan to extend the tax hike.

Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the summer on May 31.