Ill. lawmakers reach tax deal

January 7, 2011 12:20:03 PM PST
Lawmakers in Springfield reached a deal Thursday night to raise the Illinois income tax.

The agreement means taxpayers may see an increase of 75 percent. It would boost the current 3 percent income tax rate to 5.25 percent.

The hike would be in effect for four years to help pay off the state's massive deficit.

After four years, the rate would fall back to a permanent 3.75 percent. The extra money would go for education and property tax relief.

The four-year tax hike means someone making $50,000 a year would pay more than $1,000 annually.

There was no word yet on when lawmakers will vote.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Michael Madigan was optimistic about the deal was that was being brokered.

"We hope to be able to move some legislation pretty soon," said Madigan.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Christine Radogno says Quinn has reneged on his campaign promise to seek an increase no greater than 1-percentage point.

"This is more than double that. To me, that's kind of a bait and switch. And I think it's wrong and it's wrong to do it in a lame-duck session," said Radogno.

Last year, the Senate passed a measure raising the income tax 2 percent that also provided money for education and property-tax relief. The House would amend that bill with new increase amounts and terms.

Sen. James Meeks, who sponsored the Senate bill, was opposed to any changes.

"Now all of a sudden I hear that there is a bill floating around the Capitol that won't give property-tax relief or funds for education. That cannot happen," said Meeks.

But other senators said they would accept changes, noting the state's dire financial straits and new threats to its bond rating.

"If the bill comes over a little different than we sent it in the House, then we have to look at that and consider it. So I'm going to not say that I won't vote for it if it doesn't have all the components that I want in there," said Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago.