Gov. Quinn's Budget Address Could Answer Income Tax Question

Mar 25, 2014

  In a speech that could be pivotal for both his re-election campaign and for the state's finances, Governor Pat Quinn will Wednesday present his annual budget proposal. His administration is tight-lipped about what he has in mind. 

Illinois lawmakers — at least most of them — have agreed the state has about $35 billion dollars to spend next year.

But as House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says,

"How we distribute that money and divvy it up is a whole different analysis."

Durkin says his members' priorities are paying down Illinois' billions of dollars in overdue bills.

And Republicans want it done with existing revenues. As in, without an extension of the 2011 income tax hike. The higher rate is set to rollback halfway through the next budget year. The governor hasn't said yet what he wants done about it.

Democratic Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, who's from Peoria, says now is the time.

"My opinion? He needs to go there ... In order to do the things that we need to do as a state, I don't think that you can ignore that significant fiscal cliff that we're going to be on," she said.

But a poll released this week points out the obvious: a tax hike isn't popular with voters. And Quinn's facing a tough re-election battle against Bruce Rauner, who favors keeping the tax rate down.