Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate. But, the plan has been put on hold.
Rube Goldberg would be impressed by this budget plan. It includes an increase in the income tax rate to 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Other bills would allow borrowing to pay off an $11 billion backlog of overdue bills, increase the minimum wage, expand legalized gambling, consolidate local governments, pay Chicago teachers' portion of their pensions and enact changes to state employees' pensions to save the state money.
That said, there's plenty of skepticism among rank-and-file legislators like Dale Righter, a Republican senator from Mattoon:
“If legislators come to the ... taxpayers and say, 'You know what, we just need a big tax increase, and we'll tweak the curtains here and a little bit over here, but nothing substantive changes,' I think that there's going to be a rude awakening."
Top leaders at first seemed eager to push the package through during the lame duck session -- but now say they'll wait until new legislators are sworn in on Wednesday.
Illinois has gone more than 18 months without a full budget.