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Last Minute Budget Proposals Announced in Illinois

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – It’s almost the last minute for the Illinois House and Senate to find ways to raise money, cut spending or both. After noon Wednesday, a new General Assembly is sworn in.

A proposal unveiled last week is still undergoing some revision. State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley), a House Democratic leader who specializes in budgetary matters, says instead of increasing the income taxes to 5.25 percent for individuals and 8.4 percent for businesses, what’s being discussed now is 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively. The current rates are 3 percent and 4.8 pecent, respectively.

Mautino says the increases have been shrunk, and spending caps imposed, as the result of reaction from lawmakers who would be asked to vote on any proposal.

Initially, legislative leaders wanted to get the state paid up on its bills, balance the budget, get money to education, and provide some property tax relief. Mautino says lawmakers may be willing to vote on an income tax hike if they are assured the state is serious about making some cuts.

“By the end of next year, the state will be out of money, and that has strong implications on our bond ratings,” says Mautino. “You know, folks, we’re one step above junk right now.”

Part of the Democrats’ solution, a $1 increase in the tax on a pack of cigarettes, could come up for a vote in the House Tuesday a cigarette tax has passed the House Revenue and Finance Committee.

Reported by Dave Dahl

Copyright 2011 Illinois Radio Network

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