Quinn said after a Wednesday speech that he still hopes for an
up-or-down vote on his 33 percent income tax hike, or as he calls
it, his 1 percent surcharge for education.
But he is looking at
other options. The governor said he hoped to meet with President
Barack Obama while the president is in Quincy to talk about another
round of stimulus money.
"The thing we'd like to see, if at all possible, is getting more
money for education from Washington," Quinn said. "The president I
know is committed to that, but I'm not sure if the Congress is."
Quinn has blamed the lack of federal stimulus money for the 2011
budget as the need for his income tax increase. The governor said
Illinois is losing $1 billion in federal funding, and without a tax
hike, schools across the state will see their budgets slashed by
"We have to be realistic. We're not going to get the $1 billion
from Washington that we got last year. We cannot let our students
down," Quinn said.
But other lawmakers question how realistic it is for Quinn to
even hope for another round of stimulus money.
State Rep. Mike Smith, D-Canton, said the Legislature is trying
to craft a budget without "unknowns."
"We have to be certain about the numbers we are using ... and the
plan in Washington, D.C., has just been introduced," he said.
Smith also worries that Quinn may be counting on too much from
Obama. The Canton Democrat said a new stimulus would bring "only
$900 million at the most to the state."
There's also concern in the Legislature that Quinn
is turning his back on other ideas, such as a tax amnesty.
The governor said he's not very excited about that
"I'd have to see the details. ... We don't want to have gimmicks
(to) solve our budget problems. We'll take a look at anybody's
proposal, but I wouldn't hold your breath on that one."
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Some estimates put the windfall from an amnesty between $100
million and $250 million. And that's why lawmakers say Quinn is
State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinkley, said that with the state
looking at a $13 billion deficit, lawmakers should be considering
"We can't just keep doing all of the things that don't work,"
Pritchard said. "We need to be open to new answers."
Quinn is still insisting that lawmakers consider his tax hike.
But as the General Assembly moves toward adjournment next week, that
looks less and less likely.
Statehouse News; By BENJAMIN YOUNT]