Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner says he hopes an extension of the income tax increase isn’t approved at the 11th hour. He’s concerned about the so-called Lame Duck Session in January, when it takes a simple majority to pass legislation, but it’s still the old General Assembly, with lawmakers who may be retiring or who lost their elections.
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“I’m calling on Mike Madigan, John Cullerton, and Leader Radogno and Leader Durkin (the House speaker, Senate president, and Senate and House minority leaders) not to call any tax legislation at all after No. 4 until the new members, the new General Assembly, is seated,” he said. The income tax rate, which has been 5 percent since 2011, is due to drop to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1 if lawmakers do nothing. Rauner wants to let that happen, and he wants to bring the rate down to 3 percent over four years. He says the money can be recovered through closing corporate tax loopholes and economic growth. Gov. Pat Quinn, who wants to extend the tax increase, says the state has to pay its bills. What is unclear is why Rauner thinks Democratic lawmakers would vote for a tax increase during the Lame Duck session if Rauner wins the election; they’re more likely to make the budget Rauner’s problem. But Rauner’s stated concern seems to be about Quinn winning the election and getting the increase extended with lawmakers who are on their way out the door. Rauner was asked whether it’s possible he would sign legislation extending the tax increase. He said it’s possible.