Soft Drink Tax, Expanded Gambling Among Proposals for Budget Compromise

May 16, 2016

Credit Flickr/Boroda

 Illinois lawmakers have several ideas for revenue sources as they work on a framework for a balanced state budget.

The legislature have about two weeks left to agree on a new plan, or risk taking the state into a new phase of uncertainty and political gamesmanship. After May 31, it takes a supermajority to pass a budget.

A bipartisan group of legislators came together, and last week presented the governor and legislative leaders with a menu of options for getting to a balanced budget.

One of them -- Democratic Senator Donne Trotter of Chicago, says, as has previously been reported, that it calls for raising the state income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.85 percent, a corporate tax hike, closing corporate loopholes and a expanding the sales tax base.

But it also includes an idea legislators have passed on before.

"We're looking at a beverage tax, which some have called a sugar tax or the pop tax, which would bring in approximately $375 million." Trotter also says the package contemplates gambling expansion.

"Also on the table is that old standby of looking at the possibility of bringing gaming, or to expand gaming here in the state of Illinois," Trotter said Sunday on WGN radio's "Sunday Spin" program.

In recent years, lawmakers slated five news casinos -- including in Chicago, Rockford and Danville -- but were rebuffed by then Gov. Pat Quinn.