News Local/State

Quinn Argues For Income Tax Hike Extension With House Democrats


Governor Pat Quinn appealed directly to Democrats in the Illinois House Monday evening, in his effort to win support for his plan to extend Illinois’ higher income tax rate.

The governor appeared at a closed meeting of the Illinois House Democratic caucus.

Quinn is trying to win the support of the 60 Democrats required to make Illinois’ 5% percent income-tax rate permanent — instead of letting it decline by more than a percentage point as scheduled at the end of the year. Quinn warns without the higher tax rate, there will have to be drastic cuts in state services.

Quinn, asked whether he thinks he persuaded anyone, said “I sure hope so.”

But he repeatedly deflected other questions about it with the line: "You hope for the best, and you have to work for it, and I believe in hard work."

House Speaker Michael Madigan was more blunt in his assessment: “We are significantly away from 60 (votes) today. But I’m going to continue to work to find 60 Democrats to pass the governor’s bill.”

And Madigan said he found it significant that opposition to extending the higher tax rate came from “all sectors of our caucus”.

Madigan commended the governor for showing up and answering lawmakers’ questions at the caucus meeting, even though what Democrats were saying to the governor wasn't always what Quinn wanted to hear.

Although some Democrats are skittish about the tax hike, it’s not clear how many alternatives they have.

Without that added revenue, Quinn says Illinois would have to drastically cut state spending. He’s suggesting everything from education to the state police are on the chopping block.

Both Quinn and Madigan say they’ll continue working to persuade enough Democrats to go along.