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02/22/2010

What's Quinn Waiting For?

  How many times during the primary campaign did we hear Governor Pat Quinn say that after election day (February 2nd), he would re-start his effort to get a tax increase approved by the general assembly?  Quinn has insisted for nearly a year that new revenue is absolutely necessary as part of any plan to balance the state's reported $11-13 billion dollar deficit.

  So here we are, nearly three weeks after voters nominated Quinn to run for a full term, and the Governor has barely said a word about a tax increase bill.  At one point during the campaign he said he hoped such a measure would have been passed by the end of March.

  Instead, all that Quinn has asked lawmakers to do is delay the date of his budget address until March 10th.  The Governor says he wants the additional time so that Illinois taxpayers can "learn" about the "obstacles facing our state" beginning February 24th on a website www.budget.illinois.gov  Presumably, visitors also would be able to "weigh in" with their comments and concerns about the state's screwed up finances. 

  Hmmm....

  Clearly, part of the delay has something to do with the new "transparency" craze I wrote about last week.  But what advantage is there to having Illinoisans find out they are a billion or two more in in the tank than they were at this time last year?  Why are the governor and state lawmakers willing to spend five (5) weeks in Springfield after the election ignoring "the 800 pound gorilla" in the Capitol?

  Could it be the governor is having second thoughts?  Will he use the expected deluge of anti-tax e-mails, etc. as a reason to back away from his quest for new revenue? 

  Quinn's democratic party's "boss", House Speaker Michael Madigan has already publicly questioned the need for a tax increase.   The Speaker knows that "no-tax-increase" republicans are prepared to use the issue to not only recapture the governor's mansion but also to reduce or end Madigan's majority in the House of Representatives.

  Meanwhile, the pressure is building on the controlling democrats to do something now.  Chicago's business oriented, fiscally conservative Civic Federation has shockingly announced its support for a 3-5% increase in the Illinois personal income tax rate and a slightly smaller increase in the corporate levy (4.8-6.2%).

  But don't expect Madigan's dems to jump off the tax increase cliff because their adversaries at a republican-leaning business organization tell them its a matter of "do or die".

  The Speaker, the Governor and the rest of the Illinois Democratic Party fear the tax increase issue could be a matter of do and die.




    

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