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Budget Yes Maybe: Nope On Hold

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke

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's got cuts to government pensions, six new casino licenses, and a gradual minimum wage hike.

It's also got higher income taxes -- up to nearly 5 percent from the current three-and-a-quarter.

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," said Righter.

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.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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