Spending $38 billion is easy. Finding the money to pay for it, with the state’s personal income tax rate set to roll back 1.25 percentage points midway through the fiscal year, is less easy. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), planning a floor vote on the spending part of it Thursday, says he still must persuade some members to find a way to balance the budget – that is, extend the 5 percent income tax rate if that budget is going to work.
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“We talk in terms of their view of where the state should be (and) what the state should be doing for its citizens,” Madigan said of his talks with Democratic representatives. “They’re really policy-orientated conversations. You’d really enjoy them.” The speaker reminds us there are 2½ weeks remaining in the session. History reminds us the lawmakers can find ways to do things in June, or later, too. “Don’t worry about the deadline,” the speaker said as he walked away. “Don’t.”