CHICAGO, May 22 (Reuters) - The head of the Illinois House of Representatives said on Thursday that the lack of support for the governor’s income tax plan means the chamber will redo the fiscal 2015 spending bills that were passed last week.
Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan told reporters that he instructed the chamber’s appropriation committee chairs to produce an alternative budget for a House vote next week.
“Thirty-four is a long way away from 60,” Madigan said, referring to the number of House Democrats willing to support making Illinois’ current personal and corporate income tax rates permanent, versus the number of votes required for passage.
The higher rates, enacted in 2011, are scheduled to partially roll back on Jan. 1, the mid-point of Illinois’ next budget year.
Republican lawmakers complained that Democrats last week ignored the chamber’s agreed-upon $34.5 billion general fund revenue target and instead passed $37.35 billion in spending that requires revenue from the higher income tax rates. Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, recommended in March a fiscal 2015 budget that incorporated just over $2 billion from the higher tax rates.
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 liability.
Both the House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are scheduled to wrap up their spring session and the fiscal 2015 budget by May 31. Illinois’ fiscal year begins July 1. (Reporting by Karen Pierog and Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Grant McCool)