The governor's office is asking for more time to prepare a budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The new date, pending a vote of the General Assembly, would be March 26, five weeks later than the previously scheduled date of Feb. 19. Coincidence or not, the move would put the budget address eight days beyond the primary election.
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Moving the date is expected to be a formality. It's been done more often than not over the past several years. Of course, the budget speech is no more a budget than the State of the State speech was a documentary. “I would not take anything to the bank that (what the governor says in his speech) is passed this spring,” says Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “It could be a very, very different world when we get into veto session, or when we get a new governor.”
If that's the case, Redfield says, the General Assembly may take delight in throwing that unfinished hot potato into the hands of a Republican governor and say, good luck. The increased income tax rate of five percent is set to revert to 3.75 percent, absent action otherwise, on Dec. 31, midway through the next fiscal year.