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State House Rejects Income Tax Increase, Civil Union Bill Possibly Dead

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 1, 2009 2:00PM

Rep. John Fritchey awaits voting, via his facebook page.
The Illinois state house was working late in the night last night, attempting to hammer out a new budget before the midnight deadline. In the end, the house defeated Gov. Quinn's proposed income tax hike and passed a temporary budget that, while not containing higher taxes, still has giant holes, meaning they'll be back to hash out another budget soon. To pass the income tax hike, Quinn needed 60 votes for; the measure was defeated with 42 votes for to 74 against (the Trib has how they voted - PDF).

When all was said and done last night, Quinn told the press, "I'm a little disappointed tonight in our General Assembly, that we were not able to get enough revenue to have a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year. While we're disappointed, we are not in any way undaunted."

Of course, the battle in the General Assembly is never really over. According to the Sun-Times:

The governor still has about 10 weeks of budgetary wiggle room before having to strike some kind of tax-hike deal or begin what one Democrat called an "apocalyptic" series of funding cuts.

To avert that budgetary bloodbath, Quinn said he intends to reconvene the four legislative leaders for more budget talks today, ruling out a special session and insisting he plans to bring no other funding options to the table beyond his tax-hike plan.

Another tax plan, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago), which would have raised the income tax to 5 percent and put new sales taxes on things like movie tickets and dry cleaning, was also defeated. When Quinn announced late last night that he would not push any further for the tax increase and that the House would instead focus on the makeshift budget, it riled several who supported his plans, like Sen. Meeks, who said, "He gave up. He gave up at 9 o'clock. You don't give up at 9 o'clock with three hours to go. That's just like giving up in the first quarter just because you're down by 20 points."

There were several other bills many around the state were following. Both HB 2234 and SB 1716, if passed, would have created the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, legalizing same-sex civil unions. Both of those bills, however, were "Re-referred to rules committee." The state legislature's site says of such a move:

If the bill is not passed or considered further, the bill can be re-referred to the Rules Committee. WHEN THIS HAPPENS THE BILL MAY BE CONSIDERED DEAD.

When a bill is considered dead, there is very little chance that the bill will pass into law. Only under very extraordinary circumstances will a bill that has been re-referred to the Rules Committee have a chance to become law.

One bill from last night's late-night voting session that did pass was the caps on campaign contributions, which passed 64-46.