11 months ago From pantagraph.com
From From pantagraph.com:
As Gov. Pat Quinn prepares to deliver his annual budget speech Wednesday, a new poll shows Illinoisans strongly oppose extending the state's temporary income tax increase.
The results of the survey by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale mirror the tough choices facing Quinn and members of the General Assembly as they head toward a May 31 target to have a new spending plan in place.
Although the poll showed 60 percent of the 1,001 registered voters strongly opposed extending the tax increase when it begins to roll back on Jan. 1, it also found opposition to cutting money for schools, prisons, police, parks, pensions and programs for poor people.
John Jackson, one of the SIU political scientists directing the poll, said the results "point to a basic incongruity in public opinion."
"This contradiction has produced the state’s structural budget deficit, which has proved to be very difficult for political leaders to address," Jackson said.
Quinn, who is in the midst of a re-election battle against Republican Bruce Rauner, will outline a financial blueprint Wednesday that is expected to address how he plans to deal with the reduction of the state's income tax rate from 5 percent to 3.75 percent.
The estimated $1.6 billion in lost revenue from the rollback comes as costs for some programs are on the rise, bringing the total funding gap to about $2.3 billion, according to Democrats in the Senate.
To highlight the tough choices facing lawmakers, lawmakers held a hearing Friday in which Quinn's top aides outlined what would happen to various state programs if a 20 percent budget cut were imposed.
Along with closing multiple state prisons and slashing funds for schools, the aides said such a reduction would gut spending on programs for seniors and poor people.
Quinn originally was scheduled to deliver his budget address more than a month ago. He has not said how he plans to handle the tax cut.