Senate fails to pass transit bill by 1 vote; house passes it

January 9, 2008 8:52:29 PM PST
The Illinois House passed a transit funding bill Wednesday, but the bill failed to get past the senate by one vote.Three senators did not vote, and it could be recalled Thursday. But the issue did take one step closer to being resolved with an 11-vote margin win in the house, despite opposition. Some legislaors say it is another bailout unfair to them and their taxpayers.

The bill would hike the sales tax in Cook and surrounding counties by one quarter of one percent and raise the real estate transfer tax. That would raise enough money to avert layoffs on the CTA, Metra and Pace.

But the senate debated for some time and with a 24-29 vote, they fell one vote short to pass this measure. There were three Democratic leaders who did not vote. So this is subject to a recall.

If the bill passes Thursday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is opposed to any sales tax hike and said he will use his veto to change the bill but won't say what the changes would be.

"I have an idea or two, and it would make the bill a heck of a lot better than it is now. I hope most of the members of the general assembly would be enthusiastic about it as I am," he said.