* The Tribune has a well-written and pretty thorough session preview…
Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield on Tuesday for a spring session that will be a test of whether Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Democratic-led General Assembly can address issues at the root of the state’s long-running problems with fiscal instability and political corruption.
Remedies for the state’s notoriously high property taxes, soaring public pension debt and weak government ethics laws top the agenda for lawmakers and the second-year governor. All figure to be especially tough tasks in an election year and under the cloud of an ongoing federal corruption probe. Pritzker isn’t on the ballot, but voters in November will decide the fate of his signature initiative: a constitutional amendment that would shift the state to a graduated-rate income tax.
Further complicating the political dynamics are Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s continued push for help from Springfield on a Chicago casino, a new Democratic leader in the state Senate and the ongoing federal probe that has reached into House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle.
Pritzker said in an interview with the Tribune earlier this month that passing a balanced budget is his top priority. He also said he needs to balance his “impatience” to get things done with “a desire to bring everybody along on this journey to fixing the challenges the state faces.”
* The Question: What should be the governor’s State of the State “theme”?