Come February 19, we’ll hear Gov. Pat Quinn’s idea for a budget that features a dropoff in revenue in the middle of the fiscal year.That’s because the state’s income tax reverts from five percent to 3.75 percent after Dec. 31. The fiscal year begins July 1.
Larry Joseph, director of the Fiscal Policy Center of Voices for Illinois Children, is one of many concerned about how the state will provide services with less money. The budget speech, says Joseph, is just a speech. “What counts, really, is less the speech than the budget documents,” he says, “and in particular how he proposes to close the projected shortfall of $1.9 billion.” The next fiscal year, assuming twelve months with the lower income tax, would produce an approximately $4 billion shortfall.
It won’t be a fun job for Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly: “Find $2 billion in cuts, or they will have to let the state’s backlog of unpaid bills accumulate again,” says Joseph, “or they can do what
we recommend, which would be to maintain current revenue levels.”
The income tax automatically goes down without a vote by the legislature. The increase passed in the middle of the night on the last night of a 2010-11 lame duck session.