Suburbs' share of income taxes not cut in Democrats' state budget plan

Suburbs would not have their share of income taxes cut under Democrats' budget plan, which House Speaker Michael Madigan admitted Monday the state doesn't have the money to pay for.

Local mayors have decried the idea of a cut for months after Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed it in February.

“It's an over-my-dead-body kind of thing,” said state Rep. Fred Crespo, a Democrat from Hoffman Estates. “Our municipalities right now, they're hurting after the recession.”

But talks over state spending aren't likely to end by lawmakers' Sunday deadline.

Democrats are set to move forward with their spending plan without bargaining with Gov. Bruce Rauner or approving any of the Republicans' agenda. Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, said lawmakers will send Rauner the budget, then talk about how to pay for it later.

“We will publicly acknowledge that we don't have the money to pay for this budget,” Madigan said. “But we're prepared to work with the governor, negotiate with the governor to raise the money so that there's a balanced budget.”

In response, Rauner went on the attack.

Democrats “appear ready to end the regular session with yet another broken budget or massive tax hike — and no structural reforms,” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement. “The speaker and his allies in the legislature are sorely mistaken if they believe the people of Illinois will accept doubling down on a broken system that has failed Illinois over the last dozen years.”

Madigan said Democrats' budget will include some spending increases for schools and cuts for some human services programs in an overall $36.3 billion proposal.

Rauner can take Democrats' spending plan and veto it or cut spending on his own this summer, but the scenario sets up the potential for months of fighting over spending.

“This is a replay of how legislative Democrats have run Illinois for the past decade,” Senate Republican Christine Radogno, a Lemont Republican, said. “Game playing, a complete disregard for balancing the budget and a burden on the taxpayers who pay the bills.”

The governor has called for approval of some points of his agenda that includes a property tax freeze and some pro-business changes before he would entertain new taxes to fill a likely $3 billion budget hole. Democrats have staged a series of test votes in previous weeks, rejecting some of those ideas.

Republicans called those votes a political game, and Madigan said Democrats won't bargain on budget matters and Rauner's agenda at the same time.

“I don't think you should bring the non-budget issues into the budget-making,” Madigan said. “And the need for more money to pay for the budget is part of the budget-making.”

Nine pieces of the budget were filed by House Democrats Monday, with some portions, including Democrats' spending plan for elementary and secondary education, still outstanding. Madigan told reporters that cuts would be made throughout the budget, to human services and higher education. But Madigan also said spending would increase for K-12 education, and for the department of corrections, while the state's obligation to fund its pension systems would be made in full next year under the plan.

Senate President John Cullerton's spokesman, Rikeesha Phelon, noted that Cullerton has “publicly invited Republicans to file amendments to cut the budget if they disagree with the priorities funded in the plan.”

By law, the Legislature has until May 31 to pass a budget. If it goes into overtime, a special three-fifths vote is required for approval. In turn, Rauner has the ability to sign, reject or amend the Legislature's plan it presents him.

The General Assembly went into overtime under Rauner's two Democratic predecessors, former Gov. Pat Quinn and now imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but impasses were resolved before checks needed to be sent out to schools beginning their academic year.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the State address in February as House Speaker Michael Madigan, left, and Senate President John Cullerton look on. Rauner's proposed cuts to municipalities wouldn't happen under Democrats' budget plan, but Madigan acknowledged Monday the state lacks the money to fund it. Associated Press File Photo
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