CHICAGO May 23 The Illinois House of
Representatives overwhelmingly defeated a revised 2015 general
funds budget on Friday that would have spent billions of dollars
less than appropriation bills passed by the chamber last week
The 5-107 vote left the budget in limbo with just days left
before the end of the legislature's spring session.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat, had ordered up
the revised budget due to a lack of support in his caucus for
making permanent the higher income tax rates that came into
force in 2011 and are due to partially expire on Jan. 1, the
halfway point of the upcoming fiscal year.
A full year of revenue from the higher rates was
incorporated into the budget bills the House passed last week.
The amount of difference between the two spending plans was
not available from Madigan's office, but Republicans pegged the
revised budget at nearly $34.5 billion, down from more than $38
billion in the previous legislation.
Madigan said earlier this week that only 34 Democrats were
willing to vote in favor of making permanent the higher personal
and corporate income tax rates that were put in place in 2011,
far short of the 60 votes needed for passage.
Steve Brown, Madigan's spokesman, said the speaker will
continue to work on the budget with House members. He added the
chamber's next session will be on Monday.
Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, recommended in March a
fiscal 2015 budget that incorporated just over $2 billion from
the higher tax rates.
State Representative David Harris, speaking for Republican
lawmakers, urged a "no" vote on the revised budget legislation
after offering suggestions on how to tap into unappropriated
money that resulted from a higher revenue estimate for the
current fiscal year.
"We can build a better budget," Harris said.
Speaking for Democrats, State Representative Fred Crespo
warned that time was running out for lawmakers to pass a budget
before the May 31 deadline.
"As of today, the facts are that the tax won't be extended
and we're going to have additional pressures next fiscal year,
and we have to be prepared to handle that," he said.
The fate of the income tax increase is being tracked by Wall
Street credit rating agencies, which already have Illinois at
the lowest ratings among states, largely due to its $100 billion
unfunded pension liability.
The House did pass an advisory referendum that Madigan
proposed for the Nov. 4 state-wide ballot. The measure, which
heads to the Senate, would ask voters if they support a 3
percent income tax surcharge on people earning more than $1
million annually. Madigan said such a move would raise just over
$1 billion a year that would be sent to school districts on a
per pupil basis.
Both the House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are
scheduled to wrap up their spring session and the fiscal 2015
budget by May 31. Illinois' fiscal year begins July 1.
(Reporting By Karen Pierog; Editing by Peter Galloway)