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updated: 4/29/2014 2:59 PM

White says driver's license stations could close

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has told lawmakers that more than two dozen driver's license stations will close unless the General Assembly extends a temporary tax increase.

"A drastic cut like this would be devastating," White told members of a House committee, according to the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.

White's comments are the latest from Democrats who are pushing to make the tax increase permanent before they expire in January. Gov. Pat Quinn backs the plan. The income tax is set to fall from 5 percent to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1 unless lawmakers make the tax increase permanent.

White said his office would have to lay off about 200 workers, reducing his agency's budget by about 10 percent.

White didn't say which branches would close but said he would base the decision on factors such as foot traffic at the state's nearly 140 stations. He also said he'd scale back library funding and stop sending renewal notices for licenses and vehicle stickers. He also said he might have to reduce security workers at the state Capitol.

The closures could create longer drive times for customers in rural areas and longer wait times, White said.

"That would really create a hardship," White said.

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