Illinois House budget committees on Wednesday are expected to take up a 2015 fiscal plan that relies on extending the state's temporary income tax hike.
It is not clear, however, if there is enough support in the House to make the income tax increase permanent.
“I don't think they have the votes,” State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) said of House leadership, according to the State Journal-Register. Franks does not support an extension of Illinois' temporary income tax increase.
“I've been doing my own polling and talking to members. I think they're short,” he added.
In March, Gov. Pat Quinn put forward two budget scenarios for the upcoming fiscal year — one that accounts for an income tax hike extension and one that does not. The fiscal plan under consideration in the House mirrors the governor's "recommended" budget, which calls for the income tax hike to remain in place.
“I think it would certainly be the preference of most people I've talked to have the recommended budget,” said House Human Services Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).
Unless Springfield lawmakers take action, the state's 2011 temporary income tax increase will begin to phaseout in January, halfway through the 2015 fiscal year. The income tax is scheduled to rollback from its current 5 percent to 3.75 percent, and the corporate income tax rate will drop from 7 percent to 5.25 percent. If the higher income tax rates expire, the state's operating fund could face a deficit between an estimated $1.6 billion to $2 billion in the following budgetary year.
“That would be a very bad situation for school districts who might see such drastic cuts in their state support that you would see 40-50 kids in a class,” Harris said while discussing the potential impacts of losing the income tax revenue.
“You could potentially see seniors not getting their home-delivered meals. Nursing homes and other providers who are already worried about late reimbursements wondering if they should continue to extend the state credit. It would be a very bad situation.”
In the Senate, Democrats plan to gather Wednesday to talk about the budget as well as determine when a vote on the matter could be scheduled. Senate President John Cullerton believes the upper chamber has the votes needed to pass an income tax hike extension, according to the newspaper.