Gov. Quinn unveils 'doomsday' budget

May 18, 2009 (CHICAGO) The governor is calling for support of his plan to raise the state income tax. Lawmakers have less than two weeks left in the legislative session to come up with a plan to balance the budget.

Charles has more on the political beat in his Precinct 7 Blog.

The governor warns that teachers and state troopers could lose their jobs, and healthcare and college financial aid could be cut.

With only 13 days left before the deadline, we knew the governor at some point would release the so-called "doomsday budget." It's the annual clarion call to the legislature to get moving because time is running out:

What would happen if the governor -- as some of his critics have recommended -- used only cuts to balance Illinois' estimated nearly $12 billion deficit?

"There's some, even my own party who say the only way that we can act at this tough time is to cut and cut and cut," said Gov. Pat Quinn, (D) Illinois.

Quinn, who favors an increase in the state income tax to generate new revenue, says the "cuts-only" approach to solving the deficit would include the layoffs of 14,300 teachers and nearly 1,000 state troopers. He said over 650,000 people would lose their healthcare.

"The kind of revenue the state needs, there will be draconian cuts," said Dorothy Brown, (D) Cook County circuit clerk.

And the cuts mentioned only begin the "doomsday" list that would amount to $7.5 billion. The state would make up the rest of the deficit with federal stimulus aid.

"I do think it's important to have a reality check. Who would be hurt if our legislature doesn't rise to the occasion and enact a tax increase in order to pay the bills of the people of the State of Illinois?" said Gov. Quinn.

In March, Quinn recommended an increase in the state income tax from 3 up to 4.5 percent on the state's highest-earning workers.

Former Republican Governor Jim Thompson agreed some kind of increase is necessary.

"I agree with him, the Illinois income tax should be higher," said Jim Thompson, (R) Former Illinois Governor.

But Quinn said that, so far, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have not put enough of their political capital on the line to support a tax increase.

"I think they have some capital left to give and we would ask them to bring everything to the table. That's what I'm going to do," said Gov. Quinn.

Former Governor Thompson noted the possibility of a temporary income tax increase that provide some middle ground in the negotiations.

For all the talk about getting the budget done early, it seems we're back to the usual way of doing business in Springfield, down to the last minute.

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