state budget

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

A new poll says Illinois voters are divided on what to do about the state’s financial problems.

The poll puts Illinois' deficit at $10 billion, and gives voters three choices for how to fix it: raise taxes, cut "waste and inefficiency," or both.

Cuts were the most popular answer at 45 percent. Just 11 percent favored only raising taxes; about a third said do both.

Paradoxically, when you ask voters about specific areas to cut, most are rejected. Support was strongest for spending on education, poor people, and individuals with disabilities.

Jenna Dooley

Governor Bruce Rauner is predicting companies would flee the state if Illinois changed its income tax structure.

Currently the personal income tax rate is 3.75 percent.

Some Democratic candidates for governor are starting to campaign on changing to a graduated income tax rate - so wealthy people pay more.

Rauner says that proposal would result in business owners leaving Illinois.

If we double their tax rate, which could happen under some sort of a graduated scheme, we’ll see the flood of businesses go to a torrent out of Illinois.

"Dentist" by Flickr User Travis Wise / (CC X 2.0)

With no budget, Illinois has racked up a $12 billion tab in unpaid bills and that number is growing. Among those still waiting for their checks: Dentists.

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says the money he’s waiting for is up to $170,000. How far behind is Illinois in paying Lynch?

“We are approximately at November of 2015," Lynch said.

That means a state worker went to see Lynch just after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, and Lynch has only recently gotten paid for it.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Illinois moved a few inches closer to having a budget Tuesday. The state Senate began voting on its so-called “grand bargain.”

The deal has changes to business law long favored by Republicans, and a tax hike members of both parties have said is necessary to balance the state budget.

But none of that was called for a vote yet; instead, senators passed relatively easier bills, like those meant to make state and local government more efficient.

State of Illinois

Members of the Illinois Senate return to Springfield Tuesday. They’re once again expected to vote on a deal meant to end Illinois’ budget stalemate.

  

The top Republican and Democrat in the Senate have been working on this compromise since December.

It has changes to Illinois law meant to help businesses, higher income taxes meant to begin balancing the state budget, and a property tax freeze.

Senate Republicans have been reluctant to seal the deal — wanting to make sure they were getting enough of their priorities in exchange for their votes on a tax hike.

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