Senate Democrats Ready To Tackle Illinois Budget Alone

May 23, 2017

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Democrats in the Illinois Senate are preparing to go it alone on a budget plan. This morning, they’re set to consider both spending cuts and tax increases.

Senate Democrats and Republicans had been trying to work together to end the nearly two-year Illinois budget standoff, but an overall deal has escaped completion since January.

With just a few days remaining in the legislative session, Democratic senators moved ahead with some of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s non-budget demands last week.

Now they’re advancing budget legislation.

The Senate's "grand bargain" budget compromise comes down to three pieces of legislation:

  • A $36.5 billion outline for spending in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
  • Language authorizing the spending.
  • An income tax increase and expansion of the sales tax.

The plan calls for a permanent income-tax increase, from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. It also would create new taxes on satellite television and extend the sales tax to cover some services, like dry cleaning, pest control, and tattooing.

Even if the Senate does manage to pass the tax increases and they are approved in the House, Rauner has said he would veto them if they were not paired with his permanent property-tax freeze proposal.

Republicans say they want an income-tax surcharge to be temporary and match the length approved for a local property-tax freeze. Democrats say they've approved other system reforms and even adopted the Republicans' budget plan.

  • Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey and the Associated Press contributed to this report.