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Illinois Democrats to Push for Permanent Income Tax Hike

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said he will call a vote this spring on making the state's temporary income tax increase permanent.

Governor Pat Quinn used Wednesday’s budget address to call for making the increase permanent. Madigan sid the governor is showing "political courage" in an election year.

Republicans who want to roll back the tax say taxpayers should not trust Quinn and other Democrats with their money.

Also Wednesday, Quinn said his budget plan would give an automatic $500 tax rebate to homeowners.

Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said it would obviously be well-received by some people but he had some reservations.

“Everybody, pretty much without exception that owns property would like property tax relief, so that's very popular on one hand,” Sullivan said.

“On the other hand, based on our numbers, it looks like to give a $500 across the board tax rebate on property taxes is going to cost a little over $700 million of new money.”

Sullivan said that money might better be used keeping state programs up and running.  He said any ideas for new spending will require serious scrutiny.

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) felt the governor’s budget address lacked details and was simply a repeat of the State-of-the-State address, in which he also proposed more funding for early education programs and for MAP grants to help college students and their families.

“What we didn’t hear, really, were a lot of particulars on exactly how it is we’re going to pay for these additional dollars,” said Hammond.

Hammond believes the state should strive to become more attractive to businesses. She said that will help increase state revenues. 

She also said reforms still need to be made to the Medicaid program, which would help reign in spending.