Reacting to Wednesday’s budget message, House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) reiterated his belief that there must be some more money coming from somewhere. He also reiterated a possible somewhere: Illinois’ millionaires. Last year, a proposed constitutional amendment to place a 3 percent surcharge on income after the first $1 million did not go far. Madigan points out a number of Downstate Republicans represent districts in which there is only one millionaire per county.
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“The money derived from this 3 percent surcharge would be spent on education,” Madigan said in a news conference following the budget message. “It would provide about $1 billion of new money for education, and that would be about $550 per pupil.”
About the budget, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said it would be “refreshing” to see Republicans vote for a budget, which has not happened in the years he has been in charge. Two weeks after criticizing Rauner as having too partisan and strident a tone in the State of the State message, Cullerton said the governor at least deserves credit for talking about increasing money for education.
“We didn’t participate in the past because those were bloated budgets,” said House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), “budgets that were not fair to taxpayers.” Durkin says he’s glad the Rauner proposal is “fair to taxpayers.”
“The governor made it clear he wants to look at structural reforms first,” said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) in pointing out the final budget is likely to look different when it’s passed – likely in late May – than the governor made it look now.