The budget battle is about to take center stage in Springfield.
The Illinois senate will convene today to debate a proposed $37.5 billion dollar budget which passed the house earlier this week.
One of the issues under consideration centers on a plan by board president Toni Preckwinkle that would overhaul Cook County’s pension system by increasing county payments and reducing some benefits for employees — that passed the senate earlier this week.
Preckwinkle spent the day today lobbying house members to support it. But they are also hearing from the county’s biggest union — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—which strongly opposes her plan because it would require more out of pocket contributions and a higher retirement age.
In the meantime, having given up extending the states temporary income tax for now, lawmakers are focusing on a scaled back version of a state budget that could lead to layoffs and reduced services. House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton’s say they just don’t have the votes to pass the controversial measure that would keep the state income tax at 5 percent.
Nonetheless it is and will remain a huge issue in the race for the state’s highest office. Republican Bruce Rauner is against and Democrat Pat Quinn is most definitely for keeping the income tax rate at 5 percent as he has stated time and again.
The deadline to pass the state budget is Saturday.