Journalist in Residence
[11.09.12 UPDATE: Illinois House has added January 3-8 as lame duck session days.]
If you leave a tax hike up to bunch of lame ducks, expect to be goosed.
That’s the message state Republicans are warning of as they contemplate the handful of legislative days between now and the inauguration of the next Illinois General Assembly on Jan. 9.
Rumors are swirling in Springfield that the Legislature may vote on whether to make the temporary 67 percent income tax hike permanent.
“Illinois taxpayers should absolutely be worried about what will happen to their taxes during the [lame duck] session,” Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, told the Reeder Report. “It would be absolutely in character for the Democratic majority to call something like this up for a vote.”
Radogno said the ruling Democrats are spending money in a manner that would suggest they plan to make the tax hike permanent. She added she would not vote for an extension of the income tax increase either now or at the time it is set to partially expire at the end of 2014.
Radogno added that she hopes Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, is “true to his word” and doesn’t call it for a vote before the new legislature is sworn in this January.
Cullerton was blunt in his response.
“It is a flat-out lie that there is any intent to move the tax increase in January or during veto session,” he said through his spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon.
House Deputy Majority Leader Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, also was dismissive of such a vote taking place in his chamber during the coming months.
“The odds of that happening are extremely slim,” he said. “The tax hike is set to expire in 2014 and I fully anticipate it will be an issue in the 2014 elections. I can’t see the tax hike revoked or extended before then.”
But the Legislature made its most recent move on raising taxes during the last lame duck session in January 2011. Illinois lawmakers pushed through a temporary income tax increase of 67 percent on the last day of that lame duck legislative session.
“This type of veto session vote just further erodes the public confidence in Illinois government,” said Mike Lawrence, a longtime statehouse observer. “And they don’t have much confidence in it right now anyway.”