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Governor's Tax Plan Fails Among House Democrats

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Illinois lawmakers are going back to the drawing board on a state spending plan. Although Gov. Pat Quinn and top Democrats have been pushing for an extension of a higher income tax rate, House Speaker Michael Madigan says there isn't enough support for that.

  With Republicans uniformly opposed to keeping Illinois income tax rate at 5 percent -- instead of letting it drop as scheduled at the end of the year — both Quinn and Madigan have been working to get 60 Democratic members of the House on board.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, House Democrats met behind closed doors.

"We took a vote in the House Democratic caucus," Madigan said. "There were 34 members of the caucus voting yes. There were a little over 30 voting no."

Because of that, Madigan says he's asking chairmen of the House appropriations committees to begin drafting a leaner budget. The reduction of the 2011 tax increase is projected to leave a huge hole in state revenues, which officials warn could lead to massive cuts in education, health care, policing, and other state services.

Madigan says he'll continue to try to get members on board with the governor's plan to extend the tax hike.

Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the summer on May 31.

RAW AUDIO: House Speaker Michael Madigan tells reporters only 34 House Democrats are willing to permanently make Illinois income tax rate 5 percent.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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