(Chicago) – Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner have found common ground: they both dislike the legislature’s new budget.
“The General Assembly didn’t get the job done on the budget,” said Quinn who had pushed for the permanent extension of the 2011 income tax surcharge, but House lawmakers refused to act on the governor’s request.
“In March, I submitted a balanced budget plan that continued paying down the state’s bills, protected education and public safety and secured Illinois’ long-term financial future,” Quinn said. “Instead, the General Assembly sent me an incomplete budget that does not pay down the bills but instead postpones the tough decisions.”
Quinn’s Republican opponent in November also ripped the legislature’s budget making and fiscal year 2015 blueprint.
“…[T]he politicians in charge of Springfield again refused to make the structural reforms needed to fix state government,” said Rauner in a statement. “Instead, they passed the same type of broken, dishonest budget that career politicians in Illinois have been passing for years.”
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) also acknowledged that the new budget fell short.
“Admittedly, this budget reverses some of the progress that we have made in recent years,” said Cullerton in a statement. “Since we passed the income tax increase in 2011, … [w]e have saved billions with responsible budget cuts and that demonstrated that we can be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
Nevertheless, Cullerton asserted that the need for the revenue that came from the 2011 income tax surcharge remains necessary.
“In order to return to this path of fiscal progress, we will have to bring revenues in line with our growing liabilities,” Cullerton stated. “While a vote on our tax rates has been deferred, rising costs and pressures will force the issue at a later date.”
And Cullerton’s “later date” is seen by Republicans as a “lame duck” legislative session strategy to extend permanently the 2011 surcharge when lawmakers return to Springfield after the November elections.
GOP Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and her top senate ally, State Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), as well as other Senate Republicans, held a press conference on Friday to warn of that contingency and to call on Democrats to swear off a lame duck tax vote.
“The Democrat leaders and Governor Pat Quinn have all but admitted they will raise taxes after the November election,” said Radogno who likes to needle Democratic officials with the truncated “Democrat leaders” rather than AP style “Democratic”, a description that some Democrats find offensive.
Senate Republicans on Friday introduced a Senate resolution, SR 1265, whose co-chief sponsors are Radogno and Righter, that calls on the legislature to refuse to hold a vote on extending or increasing taxes during the veto or lame duck session of the 98th General Assembly and prior to the 99th General Assembly taking office.
“Outgoing lawmakers, who are no longer accountable to voters, should not be approving such controversial legislation, especially tax increases,” Radogno said.
“It’s a fairly simple ask,” said Righter.
Not that simple.
No vote was held on the GOP proposal before the legislature adjourned early on Saturday morning.
(*Note to Political Insiders: The Illinois Observer also offers our exclusive, subscriber-only e-newsletter – The Insider – to, well, Illinois political insiders. Each Tuesday and Friday at 6:00 a.m. The Insider, whose Consulting Editor is Capitol Fax Publisher Rich Miller, arrives in e-mail boxes with the choicest Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago political gossip, insider information, and news tips. For more information and a free, 4-week trial subscription to The Insider, please go here).