Top Democrats moving forward on austerity budget?

May 22, 2014

A day after House Democrats said they're unwilling to extend Illinois' higher income tax rate, government observers are trying to figure out what happens next. Top Democrats say they're moving forward on an austerity budget, but as IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, things in the Statehouse are rarely as clear as they seem.

House Speaker Michael Madigan took a closed-door poll of his Democratic lawmakers, and found just 34 of the 60 votes needed to make the current income tax rate permanent. Madigan says he told his budget leaders to begin crafting a leaner spending plan, then added...

"We plan to invite the Republican members of the House to join the working group," says Madigan.

"This is typical end-of-the-year misdirection," says House Republican leader Jim Durkin. He says his party has been left out of top budget negotiations, and he doesn't expect that to change.

"I do think that this is not a very sincere effort that's going on. At the end of the day, they'll get their 60 votes.

Indeed Madigan says the tax is not dead yet. He and the governor say they'll keep working to get it passed. The legislature is set to adjourn May 31st.