Just days after the Civic Federation's Lawrence Msall cast an ominous warning on WTTW's Chicago Tonight that absent new tax revenue, "we run the risk of the state's entire financial system collapsing,"a team of journalists convened on the set Friday night to talk about the political calculations for actually passing an inevitable income tax increase. At one point, host Joel Weisman asked his panelists: "Where does Mike Madigan stand on it?" "Where he's always been," veteran political reporter Mike Flannery responded. "He wants to protect his Democratic caucus. Madigan has set the earliest ever adjournment deadline, May 7 ... [T]he thinking in Springfield is [pass] a six month budget, get the heck out of town."
In theory, the "six month budget" would allow the Democrats to get through Election Day without putting any votes on an income tax hike. But don't forget: We heard very similar plans from the Democratic leaders over the past year. First, they said they were waiting until November to generate new revenue (after the candidate petitions had been submitted). Then the veto session passed without any action and they indicated were stalling until February (after the primary had passed). Now they're trying to buy themselves another six months.
Meanwhile, schools, social service agencies, and medical providers are left holding the bag.