Quinn calls on Assembly to pass income tax increase

April 13, 2010 3:17:40 PM PDT
The Illinois General Assembly is reconvening with no apparent plans to address Governor Quinn's plan to raise the state's income tax. The governor says the increase is necessary to prevent massive cuts in education.

Could it be that for the second year in a row in budget-challenged Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will not get a tax increase through the General Assembly? With only three-and-a-half weeks to go in the 2010 regular session, the leader of Quinn's own Democratic Party still stands as the biggest obstacle.

When the governor signed the bill giving small businesses a tax credit for each new job they create, he completed another so-called "pillar" of his economic recovery plan. Quinn left the Loop ceremony for Springfield, where little, if any progress has been made on his 33 percent increase in the state income tax to support education.

"If we don't have revenue to replace the revenue that we've lost from the federal government for our schools, we'll have very radical cuts," said Gov. Quinn.

The governor says, without raising the state income tax from 3 to 4 percent, 17,000 teachers around the state will have to be laid off, classroom sizes increased and programs cut.

Last week, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan told ABC 7 the governor's plan was still "under review."

"Americans are not ready for tax increases today. There are a lot of Americans that are very angry about their condition in life," said Madigan

In Chicago, where public schools face a nearly $1 billion deficit, Mayor Daley is not convinced Springfield has made enough cuts and sacrifices to justify a tax increase.

"They have a long way to go," said Daley. "Everybody knows that. They have a long way to go."

If the Quinn plan is not called for a house vote before the legislature's scheduled adjournment on May 7, it will be the second regular session in two years in which the governor's attempt to increase state revenues would have been rebuffed by Madigan, who is also the state Democratic Party chairman.

Political consultant Delmarie Cobb speculated that the speaker -- the father of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- does not want Pat Quinn to succeed.

"There is no real desire to make him an effective governor, because there is still that desire for Lisa Madigan to be the governor," said Cobb.

Quinn was asked what he would think if Madigan adjourned the legislature without a vote on the education tax.

"Well, I'd be very disappointed if the General Assembly of Illinois didn't rise to the occasion," said the governor. "This is their moment to do the right thing for the students of Illinois."

Quinn's Democratic Party holds a majority in the Illinois House and conceivably could pass their governor's income tax increase without Republican support.

Speaker Madigan has to call the bill for a vote, and so far, he hasn't done that.

There is just over three weeks to go in regular session.