Income tax hike passes with no GOP support
A triumphant Gov. Pat Quinn congratulated fellow Democrats early today after the Illinois Senate and House sent him a major income tax increase without a single Republican vote in favor.
Quinn smiled and shook hands on the floor of the Senate around 1:30 a.m. after the Senate voted 30-29 for the bill, which would raise the personal income tax-rate by 67 percent and the business income tax rate by 46 percent.
The House passed the bill hours earlier Tuesday night -- likewise without a vote to spare and with nary a Republican in support.
The plan nearly faltered in the Senate when black lawmakers balked at the House's decision to remove a property-tax relief component from the plan and failure to approve a cigarette tax hike for schools. But Quinn met privately with members of the Senate black caucus, who said he pledged to pump $250 million from the income tax increase into schools for each of the next four years.
"A lot of them are my friends and we worked together in campaigns and we believe in working together in important things that help children," Quinn said when reporters caught up to him after the Senate vote.
Asked if there was a lot of horse trading to win support, Quinn said "not really. Everybody voted their conscience."
Quinn deferred most questions until a news conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m., just hours before lawmakers elected in November were to be sworn in as the General Assembly starts a new session. Democrats relied on the votes of some lame-duck lawmakers to push through the tax increase.
"We were happy that the Senate voted that way and the House did too, and we'll talk about it tomorrow," Quinn said, forgetting that he meant a little later today.
Democrats argued the tax increase was needed to rehabilitate the state's deadbeat image, but Republicans predicted it would drive businesses out of state.