Illinois budget

State of Illinois

The Senate adjourned abruptly early Wednesday evening after Democrats and Republicans held private caucus meetings that lasted more than three hours.

 

A spokesman for Democratic Senate President John Cullerton issued a statement saying Senate leaders continue to discuss the massive compromise plan, and the Senate will return to session today.

Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography / "Fizzy Purple Grape Soda" (CC v. 2.0)

Part of a potential compromise at the statehouse would make Illinois the first state with a tax on sugary drinks, like soda.

It’s among new legislation that’s meant to end the budget stalemate and bring in more tax dollars.

Just a few cities in the U.S., and Cook County have such a tax on the books. In past debates, opponents said a soda tax means a nanny state where the government tells people what’s bad for them.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

Illinois Senate leaders are hoping to move swiftly on their pledge to advance a state-budget compromise by month's end.

The Democratic-controlled chamber has assigned 13 pieces of legislation for committee hearings that aim to break the two-year budget deadlock between legislative Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The proposals include an income tax increase and a hike in the minimum wage, but also attempt to satisfy Rauner's pro-business agenda with a property-tax freeze and restrictions on workers' compensation awards.

State government is projected to spend as much as 13 billion dollars more than it will collect in taxes this year. That's according to a recent report by the General Assembly's bipartisan budget analysts.  

Revenue manager Jim Muschinske notes that collection of sales tax has been essentially flat from July through November.  

“Seventy percent of the economy is driven by the consumer, so anytime they take a pause, it’s a little bit of a concern," he says. 

He also says there's low performance with income and corporate taxes.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Illinois Legislature today passed pieces of a stopgap budget deal between the governor and top legislative leaders to keep the state running and fund schools in the fiscal year that begins Friday.  The bills now head to the desk of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature.

The deal includes money to fund state services, colleges, prisons and road construction for the next six months. It also provides a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, including money for financially struggling Chicago Public Schools. 

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