* House Speaker Michael Madigan stated the obvious yesterday…
Democrats in the Illinois House began advancing a budget Wednesday that is built on the presumption that the legislature will extend the state’s temporary income tax increase.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said setting the spending plan first will “set the bar” and help convince House members to vote for the tax increase.
But Republican House member Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst said setting a budget, before knowing revenue, is putting the cart before the horse.
“That’s not how a business operates. That’s not how my family operates its budget,” Reboletti said, adding that you don’t buy a new house and “hope to have more money.”
* Madigan had some blunt words for those who believe that passing a budget without the tax hike revenues included could wind up as unconstitutional…
Republicans also argued that the math being used by Democrats was unconstitutional, noting the nearly $4 billion shortfall that could result and pointing to a provision in the Illinois Constitution that states “appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” […]
Madigan dismissed the legal concerns as “fiction,” and Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat who chairs the human services appropriations committee, argued that lawmakers must first determine what they want to spend money on before asking taxpayers to pony up for it. He said there were other revenue ideas floating around the Capitol beyond the tax increase, such as the possibility of keeping more of the tax money sent to local towns, though that proposal has failed to gain traction.
* But some top Senate Democrats piled on…
“It’s not responsible,” said state Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat and budget committee chairman. “I’d have a very hard time voting for a budget based on revenue that we don’t have.” […]
State Sen. Heather Steans, a Senate appropriations chairwoman who like Kotowski says she can’t support a spending plan without having hard revenue estimates in place, outlined a strategy in which the Senate would wait to act on any House spending plan until it also produced a revenue measure. Cullerton has said for weeks that he’s confident he has the 30 votes needed for a tax increase in the Senate.
“I think we sit on their budget for a period of time and see what happens on the House on the Revenue. Hopefully they will send that over too,” Steans said.
Steans noted, however, that the Senate’s approval of a House budget is no sure thing.
* The end of session clock is ticking loudly, but Madigan said he’s not concerned…
“Don’t worry about the deadline,” the speaker said as he walked away. “Don’t.”
* And the Speaker still wants another big budget-buster…
Along with backing a change in a business tax incentive program, Madigan said he supports legislation that would cut the corporate income tax rate in half.
“I’m prepared to advance that bill… as part of a balanced package,” Madigan said.
There’ll have to be a whole lot of reworking the numbers if he goes through with that, unless he finds other revenues.