Gov. calls special session on Ill. budget

July 2, 2008 3:11:45 PM PDT
There was a call to action Wednesday from Governor Rod Blagojevich.He's ordered lawmakers back to Springfield next week to deal with the state's budget problems. This comes as his feud with House Speaker Mike Madigan appears to be escalating.

The temporary truce in the state budget battle is officially over as the governor ordered lawmakers back to Springfield to vote on spending bills they've already rejected. Blagojevich is also accusing his political rival Madigan of plotting a post-election tax surprise, all of which is prompting some legislators to rev up the Impeach Blagojevich campaign in advance of next week's Springfield showdown.

"It's clear Speaker Madigan is intent on setting up a tax increase on the people after the election," said Blagojevich.

Governor Blagojevich accused Madigan of sending him a budget with a $2 billion deficit because Madigan is secretly planning to raise the state income tax after the November election.

"He said it's important we put pain on the people in order to be able to have the revenue to pay for things that many of us say we want. I disagree with that," the governor said.

"There should be a construction program, but it's going to require somebody to do something which will carry some pain. There's not going to be an audit when you vote for a fee increase or tax increase," Madigan said.

Madigan said in May that the multi-billion dollar road, bridge and school construction program the governor wants requires reliable revenue from tax or fee increases, not by leasing the state lottery or expanding gaming in Illinois.

But his top lieutenant says there is no plan for a surprise tax increase.

"I don't know what the governor is thinking. It's clear there will be no tax increases after the election. I think the governor is throwing up smoke screens and I think he is again creating a crisis where none really existed," said State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, (D) House Majority Leader.

Blagojevich is ordering lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session next week to balance the budget or face drastic spending cuts and that is re-kindling threats of impeachment.

"It seems to me that this is just a game and he's clearly refusing to do his job, which i believe would open up the door for impeachment," said one lawmaker.

"I think it's a sideshow and ridiculous and I think they need to do the right thing and pad the revenue so they can have a balanced budget, which is a constitutional requirement," said Blagojevich.

The governor wants the Illinois House to balance the budget and approve a multi-billion dollar infrastructure program, like the senate did in May, by leasing the state lottery, expanding gaming and transferring in extra dollars from other state funds. But house members have problems with all of those revenue sources. And they say it's the governor's job to balance the budget by cutting programs, which Blagojevich is prepared to do next week if the special session is, as expected, unproductive.


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