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Madigan: Just 34 HDems back tax hike

Thursday, May 22, 2014

* SJ-R

With little support among House Democrats to extend the temporary income tax increase, House Speaker Michael Madigan has ordered budget negotiators to prepare a new spending plan that will contain steep cuts to state programs.

Madigan emerged from a brief private meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday to say two days of intense lobbying of members by himself, Gov. Pat Quinn and interest groups with a stake in keeping the tax hike in place failed to win over members.

“Today we took a vote in the House Democratic caucus,” Madigan said. “There were 34 members of the caucus voting ‘yes.’ There were a little over 30 voting ‘no.’” […]

In light of that, Madigan said he’s instructed appropriations committees to begin preparing spending plans based on the tax expiring. Various estimates have said the state stands to lose $1.6 billion to $2 billion in revenue next year, mostly as a result of the tax expiring.

* Tribune

The specifics of those cuts will roll out ahead of the legislature’s May 31 adjournment. The idea is to pressure recalcitrant Democrats by showing them what they’ll be giving up if they don’t vote to make permanent what was billed as a temporary income-tax increase in 2011. That took the state income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent, but it is scheduled to fall back to 3.75 percent in January if lawmakers don’t act, greatly reducing the amount of taxpayer money flowing into state coffers.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to continue to work for the governor’s proposal,” Madigan said. “I presume the governor is going to continue to work for the proposal. However, the clock is running, and we’re getting close to the end of the month.”

The 34 votes in support of the governor’s tax hike proposal is far short of the 50-something votes the Quinn administration was projecting it had in hand.

Subscribers know more about that last line.

* Sun-Times

Madigan also appeared to throw cold water on the idea of a capital construction program that could be used to leverage some Democratic fence-sitters with the offer of goodies to hand out to constituents before the Nov. 4 election.

“There’s no movement. There’s a lot of discussion,” the speaker said. “In my discussions with members, some of those members talked about capital projects, but I didn’t.” […]

[Senate President John Cullerton] appeared to support Madigan’s logic in presenting his members with a far more austere budget.

“I haven’t talked to the speaker yet, so I’m not sure what other alternatives he has. But assuming he doesn’t have the votes to extend the income tax, then you have to do a budget. You can’t do parts of the budget for six months. You can’t hire teachers for six months, for example,” he said.

* AP

Meanwhile, other efforts to garner support for the tax increase are ongoing.

Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, proposed legislation Wednesday to create a capital construction program for transportation projects in members’ districts. It would be paid for with the state’s sales tax on gasoline, but Nekritz said it only would be possible if the tax hike is approved so money from gas taxes doesn’t have to be used elsewhere. […]

The plan would divert the state’s share of money from the 6.25 percent of sales tax on motor fuels from the general revenue fund to a newly created Transportation Reform Fund. Eighty percent of that money would be used for highway maintenance, construction and bridge repair, congestion relief and construction of aviation facilities; 20 percent would be used for rail and mass transit.

Sue Hofer, spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue, says gas sales tax generates about $780 million a year for schools, social services and public safety.

* Raw audio of MJM’s presser from WUIS

- Posted by Rich Miller        


88 Comments
  1. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    Another blow against the pension plan. The state has so much money it can give up $800 million of it’s GRF? The math gets harder and harder to keep up with.


  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    The tax payers do not want an extension of the income tax increase. Hope the politicians are finally listening. Guess the coming elections do that to politicians! Maybe we should have elections for all of them, every year!


  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    The titanic clash between the construction lobby in one corner, and Big Education and Big Social Services in the other.

    A nice diversion from the pension crisis, and it ought to be interesting nonetheless.


  4. - Just Observing - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Ugh… a capital construction program?? Let’s just focus on paying down our debts, not playing cat n’ mouse games with our revenue.


  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    –Another blow against the pension plan. The state has so much money it can give up $800 million of it’s GRF? –

    No kidding. What “emergency?”


  6. - uptown progressive - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    “The tax payers do not want an extension of the income tax increase” - Our household supports the extension. Can not speak for all tax payers as “anonymous @9:58 pretends to do.


  7. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    == prepare a new spending plan that will contain steep cuts to state programs ==

    Rather than do their best to mitigate the possible damage, this new “budget” proposal will surely entail promises of the most painful cuts possible. A la Jesse White’s prior threat to eliminate Capitol building security guards, which was quickly exposed to be less than necessary.


  8. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    =Eighty percent of that money would be used for highway maintenance, construction and bridge repair, congestion relief and construction of aviation facilities; 20 percent would be used for rail and mass transit.=

    Either we have “crumbling, unsafe infrastructure” or we don’t.

    The money should be used to keep existing transportation safe, NOT just for unnecessary, expensive new rail stations, and deferrable road expansions.

    They inadvertantly let the cat out of the bag about why we’re in such dire fiscal straits in Illinois; doling out low value, but high priced capital funds based upon politics and feeding the campaign fund kitty, NOT the greatest public good.

    That probably sums up why Springfield corruption has made us perhaps the worst run state in America.

    I’ve gotten involved in Arizona politics, and while there’s some of this kind of thing there, there’s a sense of fiscal responsiblity and the public interest there that’s completely alien to Springfield.

    I encourage even crooked Dems who claim to act in the public interest to actually speak to state legislators in other states sometime, like Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah.

    It will help you better understand JFKs statement that, “Some see things as they are and ask “Why”? I prefer to see things as the COULD BE and ask WHY NOT?”

    Why not put public interest, growth and the prosperity of the people above corruption, patronage and cronyism? It’s just a matter of pushing the right buttons on election day…


  9. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    Esp since Rep Nekritz to eloquently defends the need for the pension cuts


  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    You should have bet “The Under”, but “34″ is way below the Over/Under.

    To the Post,

    You have the cuts waiting in the wings, no overt support for capitol projects to gin up votes, actually the opposite, and by making that “34″ a solid number far below the 60 needed, are the GOP GA members prepared for seeing budgetary needs far below funding needs, optically, at the expense of letting the tax expire?

    This positioning of making the tax stay in place, versus tough decisions and cuts, the GOP has to decide if they continue with “No”, in both options; keeping the tax, or with dramatic budgets cuts, …all these “No” positions could put voters in a “No” feeling for My Party.

    Don’t get in the way when your opponent is hurting themselves. However, when you are a “No” to keeping the tax, and possibly a “no” to some of these cuts, you are driving your own narrative of being a victim of “victimness”.

    It will feel so good, voting that “Red” button, time and time again…it’s a heck of a lot easier to look to be leading and take that to the voters, and be seen as willing governing partners.


  11. - anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    The cuts will be for an amount equal to the loss of revenue FKA. I would assume that whatever cuts are made, attempts will have been made to mitigate as best as possible. What do you think happens when you reduce a budget by $4 billion? Programs are decimated. its that simple. Dont play the hyperbole game, please.


  12. - Walker - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    The claims by the critics of the House Dems and Madigan, that they planned to leave the session with a spending budget that did not match forecasted revenue, appear to be just so much hogwash.

    As are the continuing mythical statements about the Speaker’s power.

    Many Dems have so far refused to keep the tax rates where they are today. Now let’s see them, along with the “No” Republican bloc, vote for the required continued cuts to spending.

    The facts that the Governor did major jawboning with Dems them in a group caucus meeting, and the announcement that there will be no capital plan money to be spread around, also give lie to those cynics who like to claim these kinds of votes are bought with promised future jobs or pork.

    When will these cynics and critics admit they were wrong? Even occasionally?


  13. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    34 “Yes” - 30 “No” in the Dem caucus? Wow.

    I assumed Quinn’s count of “around 50″ was a bit more accurate, especially only one week out. Surprising, but this clearly isn’t a strict party-line issue.


  14. - W.S. Walcott - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    How can the state claim a need to invoke its emegency police powers to solve the pension crisis in one breath, but then offer to transfer gas tax dollars to a different fund, in the next breath? Couldn’t the gas tax money also be diverted to the pension fund? While it may not be a great idea, it seems to undercut the need to invoke police powers…


  15. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    == only 34 in favor of keeping the 5% ==

    A few days ago, 60 House Dems voted for a budget based upon keeping the 5%. Apparently 16 House Dems want to have their cake and eat it too!


  16. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    “The tax payers do not want an extension of the income tax increase.”

    The taxpayers also don’t want to cut social services. We so often blame politicians for what’s wrong with Illinois. Perhaps it’s also time to look in the mirror.

    We are struggling to climb out of the massive hole we created. I’m not sure how cutting our revenue by $4 billion will help.

    Say what you want about Quinn, but he’s proposing stuff and enacted some very tough legislation, angering people on the left and right. So far, Rauner’s mum on what he’ll do. I say we need leaders now, people with guts, and not people playing politics.


  17. - Waffle Fries - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    What Willy said.


  18. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    Oops. Should be 26 House Dems, not 16, want the spending but aren’t willing to raise the revenues to pay for it. No Profiles in Courage there.


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    – Apparently 16 House Dems want to have their cake and eat it too!–

    26. Arithmetic is helpful in counting votes and drafting budgets.


  20. - Norseman - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    An austere budget is what should have been floated first. Now we’ll see how the pain gets allocated.


  21. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    FKA-you can’t “mitigate” the effects of the loss of the amount of money that would result from expiration of the income tax increase. You can mitigate $5m or perhaps even $50m, but when the numbers are in the billions the cuts are coming out of everything, and that means k-12 education, human services, and medicaid get creamed because that’s where the money is, a la Willie Sutton. If you think otherwise suggest, oh let’s say, just 1 billion in mitigated cuts.


  22. - ah - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    What I can’t understand. Democrats (some of them) support extending the tax increase saying massive cuts will happen if it’s not. First off, just a few years ago, the tax was at 3%. This would take it to 3.75%. So, that’s still more money coming in. A few years ago, they didn’t paint such a dire picture. So, they would have more money coming in than before the tax increase, yet all hell is going to break loose if it’s not extended?

    Also, democrats (some) want to increase the minimum wage saying allowing more money into the economy which will help everyone and create jobs. If you want to put more money into the economy, why not give everyone a weeks worth of pay back?

    Then they say, if you don’t extend the tax, working families will take a hit. Again, why don’t you give working families some money back? Won’t that help them?


  23. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    -A few years ago, they didn’t paint such a dire picture.-
    i think you missed something the last few years


  24. - OneMan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    Well uptown progressive I am sure the state will be happy to take any additional money you are willing to send their way..

    To be honest I don’t have a huge issue with the increase, but we all knew it was BS when they called it temporary, so therefore I am at some level fine with those birds coming home to roost.


  25. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    34 “Yes” - 30 “No” in the Dem caucus?

    This is either the put up job of the century, or MJM is going to have to destroy some Dems and replace them with ones that are a little more accommodating.

    My vote - it is the former.


  26. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    === The taxpayers also don’t want to cut social services. We so often blame politicians for what’s wrong with Illinois. Perhaps it’s also time to look in the mirror.

    We are struggling to climb out of the massive hole we created. I’m not sure how cutting our revenue by $4 billion will help.===

    My sentiments exactly


  27. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    anon - the thread I reference is http://capitolfax.com/2014/04/29/white-to-legislators-keep-tax-hike-or-lose-your-armed-police-protection/

    Talk about “hyperbole games”. That’s Exhibit A.


  28. - PublicServant - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    I appreciate the comments Steve Schnorf. FKA was attempting to setup/echo the GOP talking points about the “Dems cutting in areas that don’t need to be cut, but they’re cutting these areas to attempt to bolster their position that drastic cuts will follow if taxes are reduced.”


  29. - east central - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    It will end up with a Plan B rather than drastic cuts.

    No way can Quinn be reelected if there is not a tax extension in place. If the tax extension is not a done deal, Rauner will be elected by voters who hear a message that he is the only way to stop a tax increase after the election given that Quinn and Madigan are on record for the 5% rate.

    This is why Rauner is working so hard to undermine efforts to pass the extension now.


  30. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    steve schnorf - there is no doubt these cuts will be painful. That is a generally accepted fact.

    There is a difference, however, in “mitigating” or “minimizing” the impact of those cuts as compared to “maximizing” the promise of pain accompanying those cuts and highlighting the most draconian possibilities to stir up fear. The Secretary of State’s comments last month are a good example.


  31. - dupage dan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    So, when the measure fails, can Madigan REALLY claim a fiscal emergency?


  32. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    ===Another blow against the pension plan. The state has so much money it can give up $800 million of it’s GRF? ===

    - steve schnorf -, cutting to the quick.

    Bruce Rauner is calling in Districts, including the Senate President’s district, to vote “No” to the tax staying in place, actually calling it a. “tax increase”, all the while not ruling out extending, temporarily, the increase at times outside those RoboCalls.

    To tie both together, - steve schnorf - outlines the immediate, Rauner sees the political play, while the fiscal play is at odds with his narrative. At what point will the GOP realize a - steve schnorf - understands the governmental, political, economical, and the practical … better … than the “brain trusts” ignoring all those realities by pressing “Red” buttons on Chambers’ floors, and hoping “No” to everything, might be a “Yes ” in November.

    Not a way to run a winning Party, or to be seen as leaders, to lead a state.


  33. - Cassandra - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    I’m wondering how many of these “recalcitrant” Democrats are really at risk of losing in their districts if they support the extension of Quinn’s tax increase. After all, voters are already paying it, like it or not. How many do we suppose are actually planning their budgets on the current tax going down. Not too many I bet, if they follow politics at all in our one-party Democratic state.

    Maybe the “recalcitrant” Democrats are playing hard to get but not necessarily because they fear losing in November.


  34. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    34 votes? They’re more than half-way home with nine days to go. After they spend some time working on appropriations bills with $2 billion fewer dollars to spend, my guess is the number will go up.

    My personal back of the napkin roll call had it at 45 yes, with another 6 who could be persuaded. The last nine will be tough, and for some of those, this vote will likely cost them the election. Nobody wants to be the sacrificial lamb, but it’s the right vote and the right thing to do.


  35. - east central - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Another possibility for the caucus meeting and the vote is that the Speaker needed to convince the Governor to compromise.


  36. - RNUG - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    “I would assume that whatever cuts are made, attempts will have been made to mitigate as best as possible.”

    Nope. We’ve seen this movie before. The cuts will be made mostly to the various programs the public heavily supports in an attempt to gin up support for the tax extension.


  37. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    Walker: Don’t hold your breath waiting for those who claim Madigan has absolute control of the House to admit they are wrong. Instead, they will blame MJM for the painful cuts that will be unavoidable without the tax extension.


  38. - Walker - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    Dan: OK.

    I’d ask “when the required spending cuts fail to get Republican votes, can Durkin and Radogno really claim a fiscal emergency doesn’t exist?”

    There was and is a “fiscal emergency,” as all who can add and forecast know. The real question is: “Is it sufficiently dire to constitutionally justify emergency actions with the pensions?”

    It’s a matter of degree and judgment.


  39. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    ==How many do we suppose are actually planning their budgets on the current tax going down. Not too many I bet, if they follow politics at all in our one-party Democratic state.==

    I guarantee you that many business are budgeting for both scenarios


  40. - Langhorne - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Phase out the majority of the increase. Reduce it in increments, over time–say three years. Keep a half percent or so. Then make wise use of it while you have it


  41. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    Here’s an idea….start a campaign for those who want to pay at the 5% to do so. Have tax software on line that will calculate your taxes at both rates, and tell you how much to up your check, or deny a refund, to support the check.

    Oh, those six figure and double dipping public retirees can ante up as well, since they’ll be primary beneficiaries of the increase, right?

    This is kinda like those restaurant receipts you receive that identify the 15%, 18%, and 20% tip rates.

    A couple years ago teachers and those purple shirted SEIU rent-a-protestors were chanting “raise our taxes!” This is an easy way for them to meet their demand.

    Or did they really mean raise OUR taxes a little so that THEY can get a LOT in raise and pensions?

    Pols keep telling us that there’s majority public support for the 5% tax rate. If there is, voluntarily giving the extra 1.25% (or more) should be no problem, right?

    The fact is that reasonable base services for Illinois can be met by our current tax base if we reform the waste, duplication, corruption, and unsustainable pension payouts beyond constitutional restraints not to “diminish or impair” pensions. I’ve gone into the ways like ending “end of career spikes” and other things before multiple times.

    Madigan seems very enamored with “ballot intiatives”. Voluntarily increasing a corporations’ or individual’s taxes would be the ULTIMATE plebicite on whether there is public support for Madigan, Quinn and Cullerton’s spending agendas.

    Anyone in the GA got the guts to recommend this?


  42. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    FKA, I read your comments as saying try to minimize ox-goring. I don’t disagree conceptually, but the reality is you can gore everyone’s oz somewhat, or a few oxen a lot. Adds up to the same question that we always face: how much pain, and how shall we allocate it? But, you can’t allocate enough pain, when you are talking about billions, to the Prairie Chicken program and it’s like (BTW, I support the Prairie Chicken initiative. I learned about them 60 years ago in elementary school, but I’ve never seen one). When the agencies say rates will be cut, programs eliminated, offices closed, employees laid off, parks closed they aren’t making that up. it’s the way the numbers work. I don’t remember the numbers specifically enough, but I think you could completely close a third or more of the state agencies and not save close to a billion in GRF, including agencies like EPA and Natural Resources,. That’s just how the numbers work.


  43. - downstate hack - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    i think you missed something the last few years

    Yes, we missed our legislature and Governor continue to escalate spending with money they didn’t have.


  44. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    I don’t think anyone can truly predict what will happen, simply because Speaker Madigan plays several moves ahead of the rest of us. However, the Governor’s preferred budget could be passed and the income tax could be rolled back some(albeit not back to 3.75%) if the property tax “rebate” check idea was dropped.


  45. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Bob, like the old hippie, you need to give up the hard drugs (peyote out there in AZ?). Waste, corruption, duplication? Very few people are still trying to sell that after the cuts of the last few years. Sure there’s some. Billions? Dream on (I suspect it’s technicolor, huh)


  46. - downstate hack - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    Where’s the gambling expansion bill now? We definitely need the revenue.


  47. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    ==the promise of pain accompanying those cuts and highlighting the most draconian possibilities to stir up fear.==

    I laugh at comments such as these. Apparently some of you are clueless on the budget and where the big dollars are. When you are talking about BILLIONS of dollars the cuts are going to “draconian” because THERE IS NO CHOICE. The big numbers are in education and human services. I love this little game some of you like to play as if it’s some cakewalk to make BILLIONS in cuts without hurting any services in any significant way. I know, I know, some of you will bring up the waste, fraud and abuse refrain. Problem is that won’t get you BILLIONS. Some of you need to man up and say you don’t want the current tax rate extended AND you realize the cuts are going to be bad and you are OK with it. Anything else shows you are ignorant when it comes to math and the budget.


  48. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    ==like Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah.==

    You never fail to disappoint @Arizona Bob with your references to other states. Do us all a favor and stay in Arizona. The people of Illinois are better off without you.


  49. - Jorge - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Bob wants to bring back the forensic audit idea. Good luck with that. If you want discourse use facts rather than demagogury.


  50. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    == I’m wondering how many of these “recalcitrant” Democrats are really at risk of losing in their districts if they support the extension of Quinn’s tax increase ==

    The targets were always NO votes. There are others who haven’t been targets for years who don’t want to have a closer race that a Yes vote could lead to. Others simply think like Republicans when it comes to fiscal matters.


  51. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    It is all about politics.

    Do we lose votes by not fulfilling our pledge to keep this tax hike temporary, or do we lose votes by angering constituents by playing tax bill games by making the tax permanent?

    The “let it die and I get a better shot at reelection” crowd won over the “voters are too stupid to miss the money they are paying us now to vote against us” group.

    Then there is the real issue about how broke Illinois is fiscally. Now that the politics has been played out, we will need to craft new political games when dealing with this reality.

    We are back to asking Illinoisans to pay more when they cannot and are not willing to pay more.


  52. - Rod - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Let’s call this post the grand illusion. The Speaker forces effectively each of the appropriation committees to go back and adopt or at least consider the Governor’s “not recommended,” budget. So then every Democrat gets a good look at the actual impact of these cuts. At least in theory some Republicans might agree to the “not recommended,” budgets.

    So then the appropriation chairs, supposedly go to the Speaker and say we can’t do this can we really? Then the Speaker does his little presser and says the appropriation chairs have asked him to file this bill making the 5% tax good for only one additional year. Does that seem like a classic legislative solution? There are other possibilities here, but all of us who have been around the legislature know this is part of a game of smoke and mirrors to get through the session.

    What is in all of this truly devastating for Governor Quinn is how little popular interest there is really is in the $500 property tax pay back. I almost feel sad for Quinn who seemed to think his proposal would have a deep resonance with the electorate.

    Most Chicagoans who bother to think about this type of stuff know full well the $500 will not amount to much once the property tax rate increases start coming. The day of reckoning has come for low property tax Chicago and the time is coming to pick up the tab for several generations of taxes that have been totally inadequate for the City. I doubt that the increased property taxes are in any way going to drive down property values in the City, for those of us with homes worth many hundreds of thousands and in some cases one or two million, it just the price we have to pay. It could be worse we could live in San Francisco.


  53. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    Public Servant - Please. I was “echoing” the astute observations of many objective commenters, members of the media and common sense. As one specific example, I was echoing Rich.

    == Whenever government agencies are threatened with budget cuts, they can usually be counted on to highlight the most draconian possibilities which could result. == Not like that makes much difference to those obsessed with making everything a “my-party-first” battle.


  54. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    == I laugh at comments such as these. ==

    Then you are laughing at many objective people who have been observing and participating in politics for years.

    Of course they are going to play up the “worst case scenario”. How can anyone not see or understand this? It’s a basic negotiating tactic and fundamental strategy. It would be odd if they did not.


  55. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    ==Some of you need to man up and say you don’t want the current tax rate extended AND you realize the cuts are going to be bad and you are OK with it.==

    Hit the nail on the head Demoralized.It’s no secret that the cuts will fall harder on some than others. I think we’re fooling ourselves if we think the entire state is altruistic enough to accept higher taxes to pay for someone else’s services. Maybe our problem in IL is too much of the “every man for himself” mentality…


  56. - Steve - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    I hope funding for the Barack Obama library doesn’t get cut . How could we survive as a state without it?


  57. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    steve schnorf - thanks for clarifying. I may not have been clear in my own comments.

    In this regard, we are absolutely on the same page. There is going to be blood, for certain. The trick is drawing that blood in a manner which leaves the patient as whole as possible. The sky will not fall, nor will we emerge unscathed. All should be taken with a grain of salt.


  58. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    “I hope funding for the Barack Obama library doesn’t get cut . How could we survive as a state without it?”

    Right. Who would ever want a boon of revenue and economic benefits that could far exceed the cost to build it?

    http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/obama-library-south-side-could-bring-tourists-cash-study/sun-05182014-1147pm


  59. - PublicServant - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    OK FKA, then I assume you and the objective commentators, and maybe even a few in the ILGOP will show us exactly where those billions in cuts should come from when the democrats try to highlight the most draconian possibilities as they pass their doomsday budget, right?


  60. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    ==Some of you need to man up and say you don’t want the current tax rate extended AND you realize the cuts are going to be bad and you are OK with it.==

    So the opposition favors bad things happening, hoping it happens to other people and not them, and are OK with that?

    Oh no! Now you all know how we really feel! LOL!

    Nothing like accusing folks who differ from you on how a complicated issue should be handled, than to claim they are heartless, soulless beasts.

    Already going through those “stages of grief”, eh?


  61. - Kerfuffle - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    I find this whole situation to be quite disgusting. There should be no question that the state needs the current tax rate to continue to provide service levels while attempting to pay down debt. There is no magic wand to solve this problem – and yes there is some fat that can be cut but the state is really operating very lean in comparison to the previous 20 plus years. On the one hand you have the majority of minority party who bury their heads in the sand and think that everything will still be rosy without the additional revenue; on the other you have a governor and speaker who want to keep the tax increase because it is so desperately needed but who want to give $500 to every homeowner so that they can bolster re-election chances for their party which then begs the question as to whether we actually need to make the entire tax increase permanent; and on the third hand (if I did in fact have a third hand) you have a large pusillanimous contingent of the majority party who are more afraid of their re-election prospects then they are of doing the right thing. This state is broke in multiple ways!


  62. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    –Nothing like accusing folks who differ from you on how a complicated issue should be handled, than to claim they are heartless, soulless beasts.–

    What’s complicated? There will be $1.6 billion to $2 billion less revenue. Who called anyone a “heartless, soulless beast?”


  63. - Joe M - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    - ah @ 10:22 ==What I can’t understand. Democrats (some of them) support extending the tax increase saying massive cuts will happen if it’s not. First off, just a few years ago, the tax was at 3%. This would take it to 3.75%. So, that’s still more money coming in. A few years ago, they didn’t paint such a dire picture==

    A few years ago the General Assembly was skipping, modifying, or borrowing the money to pay its pension contribution. Since 2011, a great deal of the money from the tax increase has gone to finally paying on that bill that should have been paid on all along. It is a bill of money owed just like salaries, and paying bondholders and vendors.


  64. - Union Man - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    Does this mean that we can’t fly in any more prairie chickens?


  65. - Union Man - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    I’m in favor of keeping the tax hike in place for 3 to 5 years with a gradual reduction but on the other hand, the GA has got to reign in additional spending, no presidential library, etc. Can’t keep giving them a blank check!


  66. - countyline - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    I don’t want the current tax rate extended AND I realize the cuts are going to be bad and I am OK with it.

    There ya go,Demoralized, so that your not disappointed.

    Sometimes it takes a little pain to force entrenched interests to do a little soul-searching and figure out what is really a NEED vs. a WANT.


  67. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    PublicServant - Negotiators posture. Politicians lie.

    As I have said of some Republican fear-mongering on other issues, things are neither as good nor as bad as some would have us believe. Reality is somewhere in between.

    Some people choose to believe every “doom and gloom” scenario put forward. Most people tend to take such claims from both “sides” with a grain of salt.


  68. - Federalist - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    @ArizonaBob,

    Since I almost always disagree with you, I thought I would say I support your following comments: They are on target.

    “The money should be used to keep existing transportation safe, NOT just for unnecessary, expensive new rail stations, and deferrable road expansions.

    They inadvertantly let the cat out of the bag about why we’re in such dire fiscal straits in Illinois; doling out low value, but high priced capital funds based upon politics and feeding the campaign fund kitty, NOT the greatest public good.

    Since


  69. - TCB - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    The things these members need to realize is there is not easy vote this year. Its either bite your lip & vote for a tax increase or bite your lip & slash funding to education & human services. It’s their choice, Madigan knows there are no easy votes, that’s why he’s ordered the drafting of the alternate budget……..Member’s obviously didn’t pay attention when the agencies came to the hearings, but now they’re going to see it on paper & realize they’re screwed either way.

    Take a tough vote for revenue or take a tough vote to devastate schools/human services………they’ll soon see.


  70. - DuPage - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Some of the ones most loudly against keeping the tax will scream loudest when state services are cut back. The state might even have to reduce the sales tax kickback to municipalities. California did that and I think it was referred to as a “Clawback”. It will be interesting to see these legislators respond if their districts get Clawbacked.


  71. - CollegeStudent - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    ===Sometimes it takes a little pain to force entrenched interests to do a little soul-searching and figure out what is really a NEED vs. a WANT. ===

    Ag subsidies and paying to keep your small town school open and roads serviceable, is a WANT, for example.


  72. - Sue - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    After reading this update- does anyone have to think at all as to why this State is so underwater- there is zero leadership coming out of Springfield to tackle even the most basic problems- The State is starved for revenue and keeping the 5 percent tax rate at least allows the State to continue moving if not forward at least not backwards- We elect these clowns to lead not follow- I guess we all now can better understand that President Obama’s lead from behind approach was learned while he was in Springfield- At least the President doesn’t resort to government by referenda


  73. - Joe M - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    ==Some people choose to believe every “doom and gloom” scenario put forward==

    I take the projected 12% doomsday budget cut to higher education seriously.

    They used to be state universities. Then they became state-supported universities. Now they are universities within the State.


  74. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    == I take the projected 12% doomsday budget cut to higher education seriously. ==

    As we all should. This would extract a very painful price, regardless of the fear-mongering about to emanate from some in Springfield and the claims everything is fine about to emanate from others.


  75. - Sue - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    Virtually all States have recovered from the recession but for Illinois and a small number of others- it ain’t rocket science to realize the problem is with our elected officials- Quinn can’t even muster the courage to support Perriwinkle’s Cook County Pension fix- We should all be embarrassed to be citizens of this POS State


  76. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    –We should all be embarrassed to be citizens of this POS State–

    LOL, Sue, I think you’re out of the running for Miss Congeniality.


  77. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    ==We should all be embarrassed to be citizens of this POS State==

    I see you’re part of the anti-Illinois brigades. You’ve got plenty of company on these boards.


  78. - fed up - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    I would like to think of myself as the biggest Quinn basher on the board, I hat how the whole state was lied to about the tax increase. That being said, cutting 1.5 -2 billion from the budget isnt possible. Yes their is still some waste and maybe a even a whole program we could agree is not needed. Maybe we could pass a casino bill and expand gambling, maybe we will start seeing some fracking money. Even then we arent close. Quinn, Madigan, Cullerton, Emil Jones, and many of their earlier versions on both sides did incredible harm to the state. A 5% tax ins’t high and is definitley needed. Think of it as a 2% stupidity penalty for ignoring the problems for the last 20-30years.


  79. - low level - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    I hope the revised budgets will also contain proportional cuts to any state facilities located within Republican districts. Why the heck, Tribune, should it be designed to “pressure recalcitrant Democrats” only by showing what will be cut???

    You vote no, you go home and explain the cuts. That goes for BOTH parties.


  80. - low level - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    “The tax payers do not want an extension of the income tax increase…” -Anon

    Bad choice of words, dude. Everyone is a tax payer as you put it. You’d be surprised to learn that govt workers pay taxes also - as well as those in poverty, who pay MORE in taxes compared to their earnings then anyone else.


  81. - Sue - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Sorry-m In inadvertently inserted Wordslinger/Demoralized in the name line- I meant to respond to them


  82. - Rod - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    TCB there are many ways to avoid the hardest vote, which is to make the 5% income tax “permanent.” Really nothing in the Illinois General Assembly is permanent, a Republican majority could cut any tax rate. Maybe even the election of Mr. Rauner could lead to a tax rate cut so calling something permanent is not good politics.

    We could see a one year extension, we could see the rate drop to something like 4.75% on a one year basis, in fact there are lots of options to gather the votes. It is long way down to 3.75 percent, you work each option and you count your votes. The Speaker counts votes very well.

    The basic idea is to get the required Democrats to sign on, there are some like Rep Franks whose no vote is very clear. But there are others who might be able to be brought on board once the idea is not to make the rate of 5% “permanent.”

    We have all been through this before on dozens and dozens of appropriation bills, there is nothing new here.


  83. - low level - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    So, guys like Dan Brady and Rich Brauer should just be let off the hook because the idea is to get the required number of Democrats to sign on.

    If Brady and Brauer vote no, they’ll be doing the right thing because there aren’t any state workers or state facilities in their districts, right? Only Democratic reps would be impacted by the cuts?


  84. - Country Boy - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    A couple of days ago the Dems had enough votes for the recommended budget. Now too many of them don’t have the guts to pay for it. Let somebody else vote for it. When the cuts come the Republicans will holler to do the other guy first.


  85. - A guy... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    The smoke is thickest about now; 10 days out. Warning flares, shots over the bow, inaccurate counts, it’s all part of this annual exercise. Especially in election years. I suspect a lot of what’s being discussed today may not be relevant a week from today once a lot of smoke clears. In Illinois, history is the preeminent teacher. Don’t know for sure what we’ll get in the budget, but I bet it won’t be what’s being discussed today.


  86. - Walker - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    ==”It’s all about politics.”==

    It really isn’t, for most individual legislators. It’s sad that anyone feels that way.

    There are just no obvious or easy solutions for this one.

    Most are struggling to do the right thing for the state and/or their district. They have different perspectives, biases, knowledge, and skill levels. But most have generally good intentions.

    Of course whether they will have a tough time with their position at the next election, can be part of the equation. It’s just not all of it.


  87. - dupage dan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    Walker - I agree and don’t agree. Yes, the GOP has skin in this game as well. It ain’t all the Madigan Road Show for sure.

    I am not sure I agree that it is a fiscal emergency. Martire shows us how to deal with the issue in a measured way that can be managed without panic. It isn’t just a matter of degree and judgment. First, one must address the manner in which the crisis was manufactured. Then, one must address the reasonable means by which to manage the crisis. In the end comes the reckoning of degree and judgment. The pols have used smoke and mirrors to explain the cause, have ignored the more reasoned approach to managing their crisis and are now ginning up the whole game by threatening to cut chop the budgets of well known and popular programs in a bid to get public support.

    That they can get away with this is due, in small part, to the major media outlets paying little heed to it. In addition, the electorate shows little inclination to become better informed about how this is happening. For those who know a little more, the widespread cynicism and defeatism seems rampant. This is the way it is, I hear. You can’t change it.

    I can’t wait for a true reformer. You know, the one who doesn’t come with pre-fitted stripped suits with numbers on them. Sigh.


  88. - Mason born - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:53 pm:

    This biggest crime IL politicians committed in the last 40 years was convincing the citizens of IL they could be a low tax state and a high spending state. Shorting those pensions all those years did a lot more damage than just the pensioners.


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