Members of the Illinois House spent the afternoon in a series of budget hearings focusing on one thing: the next state budget. In particular, one spending plan that spends money as if Illinois' income tax rate is still 5-percent, even though the rate is set to drop halfway through the next fiscal year. Critics say it's illegal for the House to go forward spending at higher levels, without first voting to extend the higher tax. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan says he has a reason for the order of actions.
"Our purpose in advancing the budget first is to set the bar against which we will work to vote for the revenue."
Democrats say huge cuts would result if Illinois' tax rate is allowed to drop. But getting the votes for a tax hike in an election year is proving difficult. Madigan is not saying how many more legislators he has left to convince.
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