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Quinn budget: no tax, education cuts

March 26, 2014
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

During his annual budget address Wednesday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said his proposed budget, “Securing Illinois’ Financial Future,” won’t cut education funding. He said his plan creates a state budget that “properly funds” schools and adds more money for early childhood education and community colleges.

In the address, Quinn called for making the state’s temporary income tax increase permanent and giving homeowners a $500 property tax credit. The 67 percent tax increase, which took effect in 2011, was set to partially expire on Jan. 1, 2015. Under the law, the rate is scheduled to drop from 5 percent to 3.75 percent.The rollback is expected to cause a $1.6 billion loss in revenue to the state.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) threw his support behind making the tax hike permanent, noting “draconian budget cuts to vital programs” would be unacceptable.

“My plan will also increase our investment in our community colleges and our four-year public universities. We need to expand opportunities for students to attend college,” Governor Quinn said. “That’s why we will double our investment in MAP college scholarships for students in need. We’ll also increase access to higher education through dual enrollment and early college programs.”

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) told Illinois Public Television he will push for Quinn’s tax proposal during the legislature’s spring session, which ends May 31, adding lawmakers have an opportunity to “improve” the state’s overall tax code.

“If action is not taken to stabilize our revenue code, extreme and radical cuts will be imposed on education and critical public services,” Quinn told the Associated Press. He noted former Republican governor Jim Edgar successfully used income tax revenue to invest more in education in the late 1990s.

According to the governor’s website, the budget proposal calls for the “biggest investment in education in state history,” including:

  • Investing $1.5 billion in the Birth to Five initiative, a game-changing investment in the state’s economic future. In his 2014 State of the State Address, Governor Quinn announced a bold Birth to Five initiative that focuses on prenatal care, access to early learning opportunities and parental support.
  • Doubling the state’s investment in Monetary Award Program (MAP), which would expand opportunity for students in need to attend college.
  • Modernizing classrooms across the state to ensure every student attends a first-rate school.
  • A $6 billion increase in classroom spending over the next five years, doubling the investment in college scholarships for students in need and increasing access to higher education through dual enrollment and early college programs.
  • To build on the success of the Illinois Jobs Now! program that has supported more than 400,000 jobs and built and repaired 7,731 miles of road, 1,330 bridges and 1,048 schools.

Governor Quinn also proposed a bipartisan working group to develop a new capital plan for the next five years.

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RELATED VIDEO: Governor Pat Quinn’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Address (Open Caption)