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Madigan attempts to cool tax talk during budget meltdown

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010

* Charles Thomas asks some good questions today…

A most interesting but under-reported quote came yesterday from the mouth of “his excellency”, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan in Springfield as he discussed the state’s gigantic ($13 billion) budget deficit:

“That doesn’t mean that there has to be a tax increase”.

That’s how Capitol Fax quoted Madigan in its 4:18am dispatch today.

Remember that during the past seven months, including during his successful primary campaign, Governor Pat Quinn promised that he and the democratic leaders of the House and Senate would address the state’s need for new revenue “after the primary election”. At the very top of Quinn’s 2010 legislative wish list has been an increase in the Illinois income tax–with added exemptions, etc. to reduce the burden on the poor and/or homeowners–to generate the additional billions needed to bring the budget into balance.

Without the Speaker’s support, does it mean that the Governor will have to drop his drive for “new revenue”? Does this mean the Republicans have lost their central campaign issue for November? How will Illinois get the money it needs to operate for the next year?

Roll tape

* Meanwhile, while the state’s red ink gushes through the dike, local budget problems are everywhere. A brief roundup of today’s news…

* Decatur public schools buoyed by federal stimulus funds; state still late with its payments

* Pontiac Township High School considers cutbacks in light of uncertain state aid

* Rock Island schools slash $2.65 million from 2010-11 budget

* State’s late payments put district’s rainy-day fund in jeopardy

* Elgin Wants to Increase Bilingual Class Sizes to Fill Budget Hole

* Oswego teachers await word on job cuts

* School issue drawing a crowd of officials

* Parents demand Kaneland revisit cuts: Around 200 parents and teachers packed the public forum to express their concerns about the potential impact increased class size would have on students, as well as the elimination of interscholastic athletics at the middle school and high school extracurricular clubs and activities, as well as fewer coaches. District officials said the extra activities cost an estimated $900,000.

* District 207 teacher’s union to vote on saving jobs

* Daley says don’t expect quick restoration of CTA service cuts

* Few Optimistic CTA Service Can be Fully Restored

* Beyond doomsday: End most of CTA’s free rides

* Turbulence at O’Hare over landing-fee hike

* Cook County Board addresses pension shortfall

* Cook County Board approves borrowing to cover employee pension costs

* Carpentersville considers property tax, water rate increases

* Moline creates new utility tax

* Six CWLP workers get layoff notices

* Belleville’s money woes may mean layoffs for city workers

* East St. Louis financial overseer has money problems

* Agencies go over concerns with [Carbondale City] council

* Decision on pavilion’s tax status in board’s hands

* Our Opinion: Library can’t be viewed as expendable: While we accept the branch closures as a necessary step in horrid economic times for city government, we do so grudgingly. We believe this community must see the end of branch libraries not as a one-time cure administered in hard economic times, but as a symptom of an ailment that has afflicted Lincoln Library for decades.

* Illinoisans slated to lose jobless benefits without new extension

* And the governor continues his push to move back the budget address

With a deadline coming up next week, Gov. Pat Quinn wants more time to give his budget address — and promises to give a public glimpse of the state’s budget situation before that.

Under state law, Quinn is required next Wednesday to give his address to lawmakers outlining his budget plans for next year. Quinn has sought more time but so far, the House and Senate haven’t been able to agree on how far to push the speech back – either earlier or later in March.

In a letter sent to lawmakers yesterday, Quinn says he wants to give his budget address March 10. On Feb. 24, he writes, he’ll put information online for lawmaker and public perusal to set up the next year’s budget.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:08 pm:

    Nothing’s changed with Madigan. It’s some GOP votes or nothing.

  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    That was quick, I just hit the “say it” button on an ealrier post with this:

    Rich, on the second video, Madigan was asked (near the end) if he told Quinn there would be no income tax increase this year. Madigan was facing away from the camera and scratching his ear, he mumbled something about “there have been conversations” and the sound wasn’t great.

    Any chance we can get a follow-up or clarification? Did the Speaker tell the Governor an income tax increase was off the table this Spring? Any react from Quinn?

  3. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:22 pm:

    Quinn needs to push and fight Madigan for the tax increase. There can be no more stopgap budget for Quinn. stopgap is not an option for quinn.

    The same way Quinn and others pressured madigan into acting on the Cohen issue, is the same way that Quinn and social service organizations need to pressure mike madigan into getting ALL House Dems to support Quinn’s income tax increase. They shouldn’t wait until it is 100+ degrees in Springfield when the GA is in overtime to try to get House dems to go along.

    the fy11 budget needs to be presented in full next week on time as scheduled. there is no justifiable reason for it to be delayed. last year? fine. ok. this year? no. In truth the budget should have been part of Quinn’s state of the state to show illinoisans that he was serious and up to the task of being governor.

  4. - anon - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:31 pm:

    The state’s fiscal condition is a mess. There has to be some compromise with Democrats and Republicans. I can’t see the Republicans winning big in November if as a caucus they vote no on any revenue enhancer including a tax increase. Both caucuses have to work together. If Madigan wants Republican votes, who could blame him? All the same, Madigan needs to offer the GOP tort reform or some other measure. Democrats and Republicans need to clearly spell out to Illinois taxpayers exactly how bad our fiscal condition is. It’s very easy to say no new taxes, but what are the alternatives?

  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:38 pm:

    === It’s some GOP votes or nothing. ===

    === Quinn needs to push and fight Madigan for the tax increase. ===

    Madigan is not the problem, WCW, Republicans are.

    Wordslinger is absolutely right. Without Republican votes, there will be no tax increase.

    Democrats will move to support most if not all of the budget reforms demanded by Republicans.

    But in exchange, Democrats will insist that Radogno, Cross, and possibly even Senator Brady are among the yes votes for a tax increase.

    If I were Madigan, I would push Cross even further. Republicans control nearly a third of the votes in the House, they should provide one-third of the needed votes for a tax hike.

    If I were Cullerton, I’d demand the same thing of Radogno in the Senate.

  6. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:38 pm:

    WCW, this is one of the few partisan demagogic things you will hear from me on this site or anywhere else, but I think the budget introduction has been delayed every year since Ds took the governorship, it causes me to wonder.

  7. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    Madigan says this? WHY?
    If we cannot even get The Speaker to admit the writing on the wall, exactly who should we expect to do it?

    Brady? He says that not only is there no writing on the wall - he says there is no wall.

    Quinn? He says that only he can read the writing on the wall and it says 50% tax increase.

    WHY MJM? Why are you playing us like this?

  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:42 pm:

    === All the same, Madigan needs to offer the GOP tort reform or some other measure. ===

    Tort reform? What the hell does tort reform have to do with the current budget hole?

    Tort reform would dig the state into an even bigger hole: every time there is a settlement or verdict that involves medical expenses, the very first ones to recover anything are the doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies that provided care that resulted from the injury. In many cases, that includes the state’s Medicaid system.

    Tort “reform” means that all the rest of us end up paying for the screw-ups by negligent manufacturers, employers, polluters and doctors, in the form of higher health care costs.

    That includes the state insurance system.

  9. - Obamarama - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:43 pm:

    Psh, Schnorf. What do YOU know about the budget process? Oh wait…

  10. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:44 pm:

    schnorf -

    I’m not so sure about that. Blagojevich was probably late showing up for the event, but I think his budget speeches were on time, even if the actual language was lacking.

  11. - cassandra - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:45 pm:

    I think more of us could support Quinn on a tax increase if it were more progressive and fell less heavily on the middle class, say, those making between $60,000 and $100,000. This is especially true given the volatility of the current employment market in the US. Folks who are working now may be coming off a period of unemployment or about to enter one; looks like the days of lifetime work in one or two places are truly over. In either case, families need to save money in order to recover from or get through the next between-jobs phase. This is particularly true given the rise in health care costs for most and likely increases in energy and other costs.

    Property tax relief, real relief, would help too. Many families are stretched to the limit because they have moved to areas they can’t really afford in order to put their kids in higher-performing elementary and secondary schools. This costs in the form of high property taxes.

    Our Pat doesn’t appear to understand any of this.
    He’s living back in the 60’s, when the middle class was considered rich (and pluckable by progressive interests). As we try to keep a smooth income flow through periods of employment followed by unemployment of uncertain lengths,
    we can’t afford to be plucked.

  12. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 12:47 pm:

    VM @ 12:39 p.m.– “WHY MJM? Why are you playing us like this?”

    He is not playing “us.” There is is no “us” except in Ho”us”e for the Speaker. There is no game except Full House for the Dems. It is his total commitment to that goal, and whatever move he makes will be with keeping that goal in mind.

  13. - N'ville - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    I agree with the Captain. This session is all about the fall election, which is all about adding ONE MORE DEMOCRAT in the House, which is all about a veto proof majority, which is all about REMAP. The Speaker couldn’t care less who the Governor is, as long as they have 71 and 36 to override a map veto.

  14. - Iownois - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    This budget situation and lack of any real leadership will end with with a bloodied Democratic Party limping into a new legislative session at the beginning of 2011. It is painful to say because I had hope about 9 or 10 years ago. They have boxed themselves in to a no-win situation. Tax increase or no tax increase.

    Has anyone talked about the idea of a temporary income tax hike that would be limited to revenue support for essential services such as Medicaid, education, higher ed, etc…? Something that would expire after some benchmark was met indicating steady economic growth. I realize the criticism that it would just become permanent but it might be more politically viable.

  15. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 2:38 pm:

    If you just pay current operating expenses at the expense of dealing with the structural deficit, you are just delaying AND exacerbating the problem. Our current revenue structures won’t bring in enough money to support our current incurring of liabilities anywhere in the foreseeable future.

  16. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 2:54 pm:

    If indeed Madigan’s issue is that there have to be Republican votes for any tax increase, then he is absolutely correct. R’s want to run on the myth that they can just “eliminate waste” while every R Gov in the last 50 years has increased taxes. The moment D’s increase taxes w/o R’s, no matter how desperately necessary it is, the tea baggers and the grovers will be out in force. Their irresponsibility surpasses all rationality.

  17. - BillyPilgrim - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 3:07 pm:

    voters elected democrat majorities in both the house and senate. If Democrats are unwilling to use that mandate to lead, then at least get out of the way. But it is a joke to to demand minority votes on bills that are exclusively prepared for and endorsed by members of the majority party.

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 3:43 pm:

    == it is a joke to to demand minority votes on bills that are exclusively prepared for and endorsed by members of the majority party. ===

    Billy, that’s because Republicans don’t have a balanced budget bill that can be voted on.

    More to the point, when Democrats introduced legislation to create a two-tiered pension system, just as Republicans have demanded, every single House Republican voted against it in committee.

    THAT is the height of hypocrisy.

    Madigan has repeatedly said that he’s ready to pass pension changes whenever Cross is. But Cross isn’t interested in fixing things, only talking about how broken they are.

  19. - Old Milwaukee - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 6:46 pm:

    Madigan to Cross: We broke it, now help us fix it.

    Lousy Leadership.

  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 10, 10 @ 9:53 pm:

    Old Mil -

    Who is the “we”?

    There was PLENTY of Republican Pork projects in the budgets passed while Blagojevich was Governor, and plenty of Republicans voted for them.

    The current budget was passed with Republican votes as well.

    And if you don’t think there was GOP pork to match Democratic pork in the capital plan, you are deluded.

    Again, the structural budget deficit was not created by Democrats alone, and it will not be solved by Democrats alone.

  21. - Old Milwaukee - Thursday, Feb 11, 10 @ 8:21 am:

    We is the Democrats who run ALL of Illinois government. Every constitutional office. Near supermajority in the House. Supermajority in the Senate. Republicans have supported very few budgets over the last 5 years.

    Madigan, Blagojevich and Jones failed to lead us through this. Now, it may be too late.

    I watch your posts on this blog, and respect your opinion on a lot of matters. You are dead wrong on this one.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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