Torn Between A Tax Cut And Paying The Bills

Nov 18, 2014

Illinois lawmakers head back to Springfield tomorrow for the first time since they adjourned last spring. They have a lot of issues on the table, including how the state will handle the budgetary hit it will take when the temporary income tax increase expires at the end of December.

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

State Senator Dave Syverson says he’s been getting two types of phone calls and emails lately: fellow conservatives who are beyond furious with him for wanting the temporary tax increase phased out instead of cut off. Then there are the social service agencies depending on another six months of funding.

“I’m getting phone calls from day cares and nursing homes saying we don’t know how to budget, we don’t know if we are going to have money in two weeks for us to be able to make payments.”  

Syverson says he didn’t support the temporary income tax hike or the budget it propped up, but now the state is obligated to continue funding programs at least through the end of the fiscal year. Syverson says this is a budget crisis conservatives can’t cut their way out of: that’s why he supports extending the income tax hike through June.

Syverson expects discussions to start on extending the tax this week, but he doesn’t think anything will be approved until January, when a lame duck legislature only needs a simple majority to pass anything. He says that will buy the new governor five months to come up with a better plan to phase out the tax increase.

Editor's Note: Katie Finlon contributed to this story.