Illinois Republicans Rev Up Push Against
Income Tax Plan
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[May 21, 2014]
CHICAGO, May 20 (Reuters) - Illinois
Republicans on Tuesday started laying out their plans to stop Governor
Pat Quinn and the Democrat-controlled legislature from keeping the
state's personal income tax rate at 5 percent.
House and Senate Republicans introduced legislation to put an
advisory referendum on the November ballot asking voters if they
want to make the current rate permanent instead of allowing it to
fall to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1 under a 2011 law that temporarily
hiked the rate to 5 percent.
"Extending the income tax increase hits residents and small
employers directly in the pocketbook," said State Representative
Dennis Reboletti in a statement. "They deserve the opportunity to
weigh in on the decision."
The measure could be easily blocked by Democratic legislative
leaders who control the flow of legislation in their chambers and
who support Quinn's proposal to make the higher tax rate permanent.
Meanwhile, Bruce Rauner, Quinn's Republican opponent in the general
election for governor, announced on Tuesday he is targeting several
Democratic state lawmakers with automated calls to voters in their
districts in an effort to ensure the legislators keep their
commitment to vote against the tax plan.
With less than two weeks left in Illinois' spring legislative
session, it remained uncertain if Democrats can muster enough votes
to pass the tax measure.
Senate President John Cullerton has said
he is confident his chamber has the votes, but House Speaker Michael
Madigan told reporters on Monday that his chamber was
"significantly" short of the necessary 60 votes. One affirmative
vote belongs to State Representative Derrick Smith, who reportedly
has asked a federal judge to delay the start of his bribery trial
until the legislative session ends on May 31. Madigan said Smith's
absence would mean one less vote. The speaker's comments came after
Quinn met with House Democrats to try to persuade them to back his
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The fate of the tax increase is being tracked by Wall Street credit
rating agencies, which already have Illinois at the lowest ratings
among states largely due to its $100 billion unfunded pension
Last week, the House passed fiscal 2015 spending bills that would
require revenue from the 5 percent tax rate. Quinn has said the
state needs the revenue to fund education and core state services in
the fiscal year that begins July 1. A bill amendment to make the tax
rate permanent was introduced in the House on Monday. (Reporting By
Karen Pierog; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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