If the General Assembly is going to revamp Illinois' tax structure, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is asking that Republicans in his chamber agree to help. The most likely candidates to cross the aisle are certainly the five lame-duck representatives who either lost their primary or general-election campaigns or who are retiring. Yesterday, the Sun-Times' Dave McKinney got in touch with some of those lawmakers to gauge their feelings on the issue. It seems that several are open to a tax hike if other economic measures -- like workers' compensation or Medicaid reform -- are passed concurrently. From the piece:
"If all you do is increase the income tax, you’ll be in the exact same boat, if not worse, in three years, and that to me is totally fiscally irresponsible. The reforms and cuts have to be in place or at least in process before you get any enhancement of revenue," [State Rep. Suzie] Bassi [R-Palatine] said.
McKinney also notes that State Reps. Bill Black (R-Danville) and Bob Biggins (R-Elmhurst) broke with their party (and were promptly reprimanded by the House GOP leadership) on the $3.75 billion pension borrowing bill, which could signify their intention to pursue bipartisan budget solutions before they leave Springfield. And State Reps. Paul Froehlich (D-Schaumburg) and John D’Amico (D-Chicago), who each voted against an income tax increase in 2009, both indicated to McKinney that they may be willing to switch sides this year.
If Democrats want to pass a tax reform plan of some variety, expect action during the first week of January.
UPDATE (11/30): Rep. D'Amico emails to clarify that he is "still opposed to the tax increase as the majority of my district's constituency are opposed to it."