What legislators want to hear from Gov. Quinn's State of the Budget Address

Mar 26, 2014

In a speech which could be pivotal for both his re-election campaign and the state’s finances, Governor Pat Quinn Wednesday presents his annual budget plan. His administration is tight-lipped about what he has in mind. IPR'S Amanda Vinicky asked some legislators what they want to hear:
Illinois lawmakers, at least most of them, have agreed the state has about $35 billion dollars to spend next year. But as House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says,

"How we distribute that money and divvy it up is a whole different analysis," says Durkin.

Durkin says his members' priorities are paying down Illinois' billions of dollars in overdue bills. And Republicans want it done with existing revenues. As in, without an extension of the 2011 income tax hike.   The higher rate is set to rollback halfway through the next budget year.  The governor hasn't said yet what he wants done about it.

Democratic Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, who's from Peoria, says now is the time.

"My opinion? He needs to go there ... In order to do the things that we need to do as a state, I don't think that you can ignore that significant fiscal cliff that we're going to be on," says Gordon.

But a poll released this week points out the obvious: a tax hike isn't popular with voters. And Quinn's facing a tough re-election battle against Bruce Rauner, who favors keeping the tax rate down.