Monday, June 01, 2009

More than just the budget

By Bethany Jaeger
Less than 12 hours after the Illinois General Assembly left the Statehouse without knowing how state government services would be funded for the full fiscal year 2010, Gov. Pat Quinn said he would start sending notices to social service providers alerting them of the consequences if a budget isn’t enacted by July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.

Late Sunday night, the legislature sent him a reduced budget that’s unlikely to fund services for 12 months. But Quinn said a “partially funded budget isn’t a budget” and would not say whether he would sign it or veto it. He still urges the need for a temporary income tax increase.

However, after a leaders meeting in the governor’s Statehouse office, House Speaker Michael Madigan indicated negotiations between the leaders and the governor are positioned to address how government operates, not just the cost of operating it.

House and Senate Republicans have said they were not invited to be part of the process until the 11th hour, and they would not put any votes in an income tax increase without reforms.

With or without Republican support, there’s a big gap between the number of votes needed to approve an income tax increase and the number gained last night. Just 42 House Democrats voted in support of a temporary income tax increase, falling short of the 60 votes necessary. Now that the spring session has gone into “overtime,” the threshold increases to 71 votes.

While there’s pressure to enact a budget by July 1, Madigan said, “I’m not going to put a timeline on this process.”

The next leaders’ meeting is in Chicago later this week, when they could discuss the final report of the governor’s appointed Taxpayers’ Action Board. We wrote about it earlier this spring (scroll down).

1 comment:

Tito said...

This whole issue of government spending versus taxation is what drives our representative form of government. The trick is to discharge it in a responsible manner, unfortunately human beings are not responsible.