Democratic leaders push for income-tax compromise
Madigan visits state Senate floor to press for tax hike.
House Speaker Michael Madigan took the rare step Wednesday of walking the floor of the Senate to garner support for a major income-tax increase, a move some Democratic lawmakers hope will lead to a compromise as a lame-duck session draws to a close.
The lobbying effort unfolded as the Senate overwhelmingly approved reforms in the state's expensive Medicaid program that are aimed at consolidating health care, cutting fraud and waste, and saving money.
Madigan, who is also Illinois Democratic Party chairman, joined Senate President John Cullerton in fanning out on the Democratic side of the full Senate shortly after the two Chicago powerhouses emerged from a closed-door summit with Gov. Pat Quinn, a longtime booster of an income tax hike.
The plan would raise the personal income tax rate to 5 percent from 3 percent, potentially for two to five years, largely to stabilize the state's woeful budget. Lawmakers also would raise the personal income tax an additional one-quarter to one-half percentage point beyond that to borrow money to start paying down a multibillion-dollar backlog of bills.