SPRINGFIELD – Democrats in the Illinois House will be on the spot this week as the Legislature tries to find middle ground between an unpopular extension of the state’s temporary income tax increase and a solid aversion to cutting state programs by $1.8 billion to make ends meet.
House Speaker Michael Madigan said Monday it’s likely the House will push off a vote on the tax increase this session, as he is still hunting for 60 votes to pass the tax extension, which is backed by Gov. Pat Quinn and has support in the Senate. All 71 Democrats in the House are up for re-election, and the chamber has half a dozen members facing difficult re-election bids in swing districts, and others who have made pledges not to support making the temporary tax increase permanent.
Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, said House working groups would now begin work on a “middle-of-the-road” budget that’s in line with a revenue estimate of about $34 billion.
Madigan said last week that only 34 House Democrats supported the tax increase, which this year cost a typical Illinois taxpayer $1,100. But the longest serving House speaker in the nation – nearly 30 of the last 32 years – is known for pulling together majority votes and has many methods of persuasion, including access to millions of dollars in campaign funds.
Here’s a look at four House Democrats – Reps. Fred Crespo, Marty Moylan, Michelle Mussman and Sam Yingling – who are among House Republicans’ top targets in November, and where they stand on the tax going into the last week of the spring session, scheduled to end May 31.
Hometown: Hoffman Estates.
Occupation: Real estate agent, former village trustee.
First Elected: 2008.
Position on tax increase: Against.
Quote: “I told the governor in caucus I’d be a ‘no’ vote. I strongly suggested he start looking at other options. The clock is ticking.”
Hometown: Des Plaines.
Occupation: Former Des Plaines mayor.
First Elected: 2010.
Position on tax increase: Against; co-sponsored 2013 resolution to keep tax hike temporary.
Quote: “I’m against it because I made a pledge when I came in and again in 2013 that said we wouldn’t keep the increase permanent. I have to see something that would change my mind.”
Occupation: Parent Teacher Association member, former president.
First Elected: 2010.
Position on tax increase: Undecided.
Quote: “There are still a lot of details we don’t know and that’s very problematic to me. ... My community would love to see this tax go down. But at the same time, the state has done what it said it would do with the (tax increase) money.”
Hometown: Round Lake Beach.
Occupation: Avon Township supervisor.
First Elected: 2012.
Position on tax increase: Against; co-sponsored 2013 resolution to keep hike temporary.
Quote: “I am a solid no on this. I’ve always been a solid no. I don’t think they could propose anything that could become a game changer for me at this point.”