House gives Quinn more time to deliver 2015 budget address

SHARE House gives Quinn more time to deliver 2015 budget address

SPRINGFIELD – The House voted to grant Gov. Pat Quinn his request to move back his budget address from Feb. 19 to March 26, after the primary election.

The governor’s push for more time on the budget passed the House 62-48 and now moves to the Senate.

Quinn’s budget address will reveal how he intends to handle the end of the 2011 temporary income tax increase, which is set to expire in 2015.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said the governor’s request for more time was not unprecedented and cited several times that former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar had asked to push back the budget address. It also occurred under former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and even Quinn himself.

“Indeed, there are unusual circumstances facing the governor as he prepares the budget message—the biggest being the fact that the increase in the income tax, which is scheduled to expire in January 2015, will obviously complicate his preparation of the budget address,” Madigan said. “In addition, he is preparing the five-year blueprint on spending and for that reason he would ask for additional time.”

Quinn’s spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said the five-year budget blueprint, which she said is the first of its kind in Illinois, will paint a broader picture of the state’s fiscal landscape.

“This will provide businesses and taxpayers with a layout for where the state is headed down the road,” Anderson said. “It’s critical to be mindful of the future, not just the present and the immediate effects of policy decisions.”

But Republicans opposed letting Quinn have more time.

“I think the people of Illinois need to know what their fiscal outlook is going to be right now,” said Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst. “Unfortunately, I’ll have to put my constituents on hold for another five weeks.”

Democratic gubernatorial opponent Tio Hardiman said he sees Quinn’s move to push back the budget as an example of poor leadership and called for him to “take the bull by the horns.”

“These are stall tactics,” Hardiman said. “He has nothing of substance to present to the people of Illinois. He knows everyone’s going to take shots at him once he gives the budget address. What we’ve got is a governor with no substance.”

Hardiman, who sent a letter to Quinn Tuesday challenging him to a debate, said he’s more than ready to discuss hot button issues like the state budget, the deficit, the pension plan and minimum wage.

He has yet to hear back from Quinn’s office.

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