Quinn pitches tax plan to House Democrats

May 20, 2014

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with reporters Monday in the Capitol after meeting with House Democrats for more than two-and-a-half hours.
Credit Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio/WUIS
Governor Pat Quinn appealed directly to Democrats in the Illinois House Monday. As IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, he’s struggling to win support for his plan to extend Illinois’ higher income tax rate.

The governor appeared at a closed meeting of the Illinois House Democratic caucus. Quinn is trying to win the support of the 60 Democrats required to make Illinois’ 5 percent income-tax rate permanent instead of letting it decline by more than a percentage point as scheduled at the end of the year.

Quinn warns without the higher tax rate, there will have to be drastic cuts in state services. Quinn, asked whether he thinks he persuaded anyone, said “I sure hope so.” But he repeatedly deflected other questions about it with the line:

"You hope for the best, and you have to work for it, and I believe in hard work," says Quinn.

House Speaker Michael Madigan was more blunt in his assessment.

“We are significantly away from 60 today. But I’m going to continue to work to find 60 Democrats to pass the governor’s bill,” says Madigan.

Madigan commended the governor for showing up at the caucus meeting, even though what Democrats were saying to the governor wasn't always what Quinn wanted to hear.