Lawmakers return to Capitol to vote on $5 billion in tax increases

Saturday was the first day of the third straight year without a formal budget plan for IL, which has a backlog of unpaid pills estimated at $15 billion. Should they lead to a deal, the General Assembly will be in session Saturday to take action (the House will convene at 11 a.m., the Senate at 2 p.m.).

Saturday marked the third consecutive fiscal year IL has begun without an annual budget in place, and the state has already accumulated a $6.2 billion deficit and $14.7 billion in past-due bills. The proposal was approved on a 90-25 vote in the House, but it was a test run.

The deadline is important because credit rating agencies have threatened to downgrade the state's creditworthiness - this time to "junk" status - if a budget isn't in place before the start of the next fiscal year.

IL now has $14.7 billion in past-due bills and the state has a $6.2 billion annual deficit from its last budget, passed two years ago.

That would seem to be the earliest the bond rating agencies would lower the boom on IL and throw the state into junk bond status over its incompetent governance.

At stake for taxpayers is a 32 percent income tax hike that would move the rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent effective July 1.

"And urging them to, number one, come up with a plan that delivers a balanced state budget; and number two, to hold them accountable if they don't", Cardenas said.

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"I come to you today with great joy, not with regret or despair".

That's because House Speaker Michael Madigan is making his own non-budget demands. He said chief negotiators for state appropriations, revenue and workers' compensation issues will work through the weekend.

"This override is a signal of what we should be doing next, which is voting on a fully funded budget for the state of IL", said Democratic Rep. Carol Ammons. He also wants a freeze on local property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation.

But in the final analysis, after you cut through the baloney, nothing substantive happened except for another day coming off the calendar.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said he's putting GOP votes on the spending plan that relies on more than $5 billion in new taxes.

In addition to the budget, the meetings focused on issues demanded by Rauner.

- State employee pensions would be fully funded.


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