"I am not a proponent of the tax increase, so I have no idea if the tax increase will pass or not."
That was House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), riffing with reporters
at a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday. It's not the first time he's
thrown cold water on Gov. Pat Quinn's income tax proposal, having told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in May that he would not commit to raising the state's low
income tax. But the timing of this specific statement is politically
potent; targeted House Democrats now have all the cover in the world to
run against the proposal, which Republicans will not vote for and the speaker can continue to bury even after the November elections.
a tax increase, though, it's unclear how the General Assembly can even
begin to pay the late bills it owes to the state's service providers
and schools. Gaming revenue is down. Personal income tax revenues are creeping up slowly, but budget analysts are urging caution. The State Senate can't even muster enough votes to pass a borrowing bill
that would cover Illinois' annual pension contribution. With
gubernatorial frontrunner Bill Brady vowing to veto any tax increase
that crosses his desk, it could be a long, long while before Illinois gets
out of the red.