Rauner Offers Tax-Hike Guidance To End Illinois Budget Stalemate

(CBS) – For the first time, Gov. Bruce Rauner outlines some of the tax increases he would accept — and some reforms he must have — in order to sign on to a state budget deal.

Those revelations came during the Republican’s annual budget address, delivered at the state capitol Wednesday.

CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley was there.

Some Democrats charge Rauner has been AWOL from discussions on how to break the budget deadlock. He finally weighed in today, including on the topic most republicans treat like poison: tax hikes.

In his third budget address, Rauner endorsed bi-partisan Illinois Senate negotiations as the last best chance for a budget deal.

“We’ve made a point of letting the Senate move forward, trying not to disrupt the momentum,” he said.

The governor didn’t object to a proposed income tax hike to almost 5 per cent, but said the Senate hasn’t gone far enough on property taxes. Any property tax freeze needs to be permanent, he said.

The governor derailed two other tax-hike proposals in the Senate deal.

“We cannot raise taxes on peoples’ groceries and medicine, just as we cannot tax peoples’ retirement income. We can find a way to balance the budget without hurting low-income families and fixed-income seniors.”

Rauner also proposed fully paying for school districts transportation costs, increasing spending on roads and a 10 percent increase in student MAP grants.

All of which left Democrats wary.

“I heard a lot of specific spending but I didn’t hear specific revenue,” state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, said. “It’s like having Christmas without any money.”

Mayor Emanuel joined 15 Chicago area mayors demanding that Rauner introduce a balanced budget so that cities can plan for the future.

Most Senate Republicans remain optimistic a budget deal can be reached in that chamber and sent to the House.

But conservatives are balking at the proposed deal.

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