With the legislature set to adjourn May 31 – a deadline in that it takes a three-fifths vote, rather than a simple majority, to pass things – Gov. Pat Quinn assigned himself the job of salesman, with the audience being the 71 members of the Illinois House Democratic Caucus. He met for more than two hours trying to change some people's minds and get others off the fence. A simple majority is sixty votes, but the governor and House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) are, says Madigan, “significantly” short.
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“You're always building a majority. On any issue. It's a building of a majority to get to sixty” votes in the House, Quinn said after the closed-door meeting. “I think we are doing our very best to get that majority. I think my philosophy in life is: hope for the best, and work for it.”
Republicans are unimpressed. “It's the whole issue over the fiscal stewardship (of the state) over the past ten years, the continued request for more money, and, remember, this (income tax increase) was 'temporary' three and a half years ago,” said House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).
Madigan said he would continue to work his members until he could count to sixty for the governor's request to extend the income tax rate. What about Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner's assertion that taxes are chasing people out of Illinois?
“People are moving,” allowed Madigan, “because they are looking at the prospect of Rauner as the governor.”