Illinois lawmakers continued to grapple Wednesday with a new state budget, as Republicans ripped majority Democrats for spending beyond their means with a plan even Democrats acknowledge leaves “big unanswered questions” about the state’s finances.
Having given up on extending Illinois’ temporary income tax increase — at least for now — the Illinois Legislature is moving forward with a scaled-back budget that could lead to layoffs, further delays in paying the state’s bills and a post-election vote to make the tax hike permanent or generate some other source of revenue.
House Speaker Michael Madigan emerged from a Memorial Day caucus meeting and told reporters that he was dropping the idea of making the 5 percent income tax permanent — and crafting a budget blueprint that holds the line on spending but is not the “doomsday” plan the House overwhelmingly rejected on Friday.
The proposal would place a non-binding resolution on the November ballot asking voters if the Illinois Constitution should be amended to add a 3 percent surcharge to incomes of more than $1 million.
House Speaker Michael Madigan said Friday that lawmakers will try again to draft a 2015 budget after the House overwhelmingly rejected a $34.5 billion budget that would have made deep cuts to schools and social services next year in a vote one Republican critic called “all theater.”
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn tried Monday to persuade House Democrats to extend the state’s temporary income tax increase to avoid what he says would be “savage” budget cuts, but emerged from a roughly three-hour meeting with lawmakers still well short of the votes he needs for approval.
Weeks after it became clear Illinois Democrats were struggling to find the necessary votes for legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage, House Speaker Michael Madigan began advancing the issue by another route, in a move laced with political calculation.
House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday that his chamber’s effort to pass a budget without first securing all the needed revenue would aid a push to make an income tax hike permanent, but his colleagues in the Senate were not happy with the unusual move.
An Illinois House committee has voted a second time to approve $100 million in state funding to bring Barack Obama’s presidential library and museum to Illinois.
An effort to ban the controversial practice of “conversion therapy” to turn gay, lesbian and bisexual youth heterosexual has been defeated in the Illinois House.
Illinois voters will consider a constitutional amendment this fall aimed at scuttling attempts at voter suppression after Senate action Thursday.
Illinois lawmakers took steps Thursday toward creating rules for unregulated ridesharing companies, which have gained popularity in Chicago the past few years.
A proposal in Springfield aims to protect pregnant women in Illinois against workplace discrimination.
The legislation sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan overcame earlier resistance after the Chicago Democrat removed language mentioning the tax increase. Opponents feared they’d be blamed for a Chicago tax increase.
A fast-tracked plan to overhaul two Chicago city-pension programs slowed in the Illinois House Thursday, as nervous lawmakers said they fear backlash for a massive property-tax increase even if they don’t directly approve it.
Proposed legislation sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) would make possession of an ounce of marijuana a petty offense, punishable only by a fine of no more than $100.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to reform two underfunded employee pension systems quickly took its first step toward approval in the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday.
Elgin City Council member Anna Moeller was sworn in Sunday to replace former state Rep. Keith Farnham, who resigned earlier this month.
CPS officials tried to block the proposal, saying it would cost the district more than $60 million a year.
The day after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called for making Illinois’ temporary income tax increase permanent, a proposal to impose an additional tax on millionaires was sent to the House floor Thursday.