CHICAGO - State Senator John Cullerton is confident making the 2011 temporary tax hike permanent shouldn't be a problem in the Illinois Senate, but the Illinois House is a different story. The Democratic House majority is slimmer than the Senate's, so Cullerton thinks the tax hike should start in House Speaker Mike Madigan's turf.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Cullerton said he thinks there is a "good chance" the Senate can reach the 30-vote threshold needed to permanently keep the state's income tax increase at its current 5 percent. If the rate rolls back to 3.75 percent as scheduled next January, it's expected to create a loss of $1.6 billion in revenue, which Cullerton says would force "drastic" cuts to education and social services.
If Speaker Madigan can get it passed on the House said, Cullerton's ready to move forward.
"He has a tougher task, but we've both had success in trying to pass tough bills," Cullerton said.
There are other tough battles ahead, though.
Cullerton also outlined various obstacles for plans to increase the state's minimum wage, pass gambling expansion legislation and fix municipal pension systems across the state before the conclusion of the session later this month.