* Trouble ahead…
Despite intensive lobbying by Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois lawmakers remained unwilling Friday to a 50 percent state income tax increase.
The Illinois House abruptly ended its work day Friday afternoon without voting on the income tax hike, as Quinn had expected earlier in the day.
“There’s not widespread support, there has not been widespread support and there continues not to be widespread support for a tax increase,” said Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. “He’s (Quinn) asked to defer that for the past several days, and that continues.”
A House committee is scheduled to consider a tax hike bill this morning, although there is no indication when, or if, the bill will get a vote in the full House.
* Trouble behind…
House members said it was increasingly possible that lawmakers would approve what money is available and then adjourn, leaving state agencies to limp along without a complete budget.
“We’ll run out of money. That’s the truth,” warned Rep. Linda Chapa Lavia, an Aurora Democrat who chairs one of the House’s appropriations committees. “We’re going to hit a day of reckoning where there’s not going to be any more money to pay the employees of the state.”
* And you know that notion just crossed my mind…
Earlier Friday, Quinn had predicted a House vote on a two-year hike in the income tax, increasing the rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent. But Republicans opposed the plan, a cornerstone of Quinn’s 2009-’10 budget.
And only 39 House Democrats expressed support for the temporary tax plan in a closed-door caucus, leaving it 21 votes shy of the 60-vote threshold it needs.
“We are hopefully optimistic we will turn the corner,” Quinn spokesman Bob Reed said late Friday.
* Trouble with you is the trouble with me…
Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago), a top Madigan lieutenant, summed it up: “We’re looking for courage. We’re close. We’ve got it spelled C-O-U-R, but we’re looking for the rest of it.”
* Got two good eyes but you still don’t see..
Senate Democrats have predicted a tax increase would have an easier time in their chamber and on Friday an even bigger tax plan emerged, courtesy of Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago).
The proposal — which could raise upward of $6 billion — would increase the income tax by 67 percent and expand the sales tax on services such as dry cleaning, video rental, dating services and carpet cleaning. The theory is that a larger tax bite would mean fewer cuts.
A spokesman for Quinn would not comment on Meeks’ proposal. Earlier in the day, Quinn signaled his willingness to support a temporary version of his own tax-increase proposal, calling Friday “D-Day” for approving a budget.
* Come ’round the bend, you know it’s the end…
Carol Stream Republican state Rep. Randy Ramey said Republicans are prepared to wait for a seat at the bargaining table and he’d be fine with a government shutdown when the current budget runs out at the end of June.
“Kentucky shut it down for one day, got it solved. Pennsylvania shut it down for one day, got it solved,” Ramey said. “So I think there’s enough pressure out there that we can then sit down and negotiate and get things accomplished.”
* The fireman screams and the engine just gleams…
Developments are happening quickly. What appears to be the end game now could be vastly different from what actually happens when it’s all said and done.
* Cigarette tax hike lacks support in House: Tax and fee increases already approved by Illinois lawmakers may thwart a push to raise the tax on cigarettes. State Rep. Karen Yarbrough, who is sponsoring the legislation in the House, said there is not enough support yet to approve the tax increase. But she added legislators may change their mind by Sunday, the last scheduled day of the spring legislative session.
* Teachers unions monitoring “two-tier” pension discussion
* Homewood resident takes part in strike at state Capitol to protest Quinn’s budget
* Ill. hunger strike sends one to hospital
* Video poker slammed as worst of all possible options
* Illinois may bet on poker
* Too many moving parts: Across the rotunda, Sen. John Sullivan, a downstate Democrat, said as the day progressed, it appeared more likely that the legislature would resort to a budget based solely on revenues available. But he wasn’t happy about it. “If we go past the 31st without a full budget being passed, all we’ve done is put off the inevitable,” he said. “We’re going to have to come back at some time and face reality.”
* Congressman to Ask Feds for Extra Stimulus Oversight
* Unfiltered: Congressman Mark Kirk Blasts State’s Ability to Monitor Federal Funds
* State Audit Raises Questions About IL’s Ability to Monitor Funds
* Unfiltered: DCEO Says It’s Prepared for Additional Responsibility