IL lawmakers start to tackle new state budget

May 13, 2014

Illinois lawmakers appear poised to begin voting on a new state budget Wednesday. They're going with a plan that would require an extension of the income tax increase.

Through months of hearings and debate, lawmakers have been considering two budget options.

Gov. Pat Quinn calls one his "not recommended" budget, which would let the tax hike roll back at the end of the year and pay for it by imposing severe cuts across government.

The other, "recommended" budget would make the five percent income tax rate permanent, and therefore not cut programs.

State Rep. Greg Harris is a Democrat from Chicago and chairman of one of the House budget committees. He says they're moving ahead based on the governor's "recommended" budget.

"The things that people count on — whether it's how the senior citizens in their community are taken care of, how health care is provided for our elderly folks, how our institutions of higher learning are funded or how our local public schools are funded — all hang in the balance."

Harris says the revenue aspect of the budget will be handled separately. Extending the tax hike has been controversial, but Harris says the focus ought to be on what he calls the "important government services" that are at risk.