Illinois budget

Illinois Tourism Sets Another Record

Jul 14, 2014

There were more than 100 million visitors to Illinois in 2013. State agencies aim to grow those numbers more in the face of budget cuts. 

For the third year in a row, Illinois broke its own record for visitors to the state. In 2013, travelers spent $34.5 billion dollars in Illinois, according to the state's office of tourism.

Illinois Ends Fiscal Year In The Black...Temporarily

Jul 10, 2014

The state took in over a billion dollars more in taxes than the prior year, thanks to an uptick in sales tax money.  Personal income tax revenue also rose , but the amount coming from corporate income taxes dropped. It's something Jim Muschinske, a budget forecaster for the state, said was predicted.

"That was not unexpected. In fact, we actually did better this fiscal year than what was initially assumed back when the budget was passed," Muschinske said.

Rich Egger

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made a bit of a change to the state budget that goes into effect Tuesday—a change meant to play well with voters.

  It's the last day of the fiscal year for the State of Illinois, which means the pressure is on for Gov. Pat Quinn to sign a new budget into law.

There's nothing on the governor's public schedule for today, but that doesn't mean he won't be busy making official the spending plan passed by his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly.

  Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner has unveiled what he says is phase three of his plans to "Restore Illinois." It's focused on how the state taxes businesses.

In a statement — he released the plan via social media, rather than at a live event — Rauner says he wants to close "special interest loopholes."

Like a tax break for buying a racehorse.

And, in a risky move as he seeks to win newspaper editorial boards' endorsements, he wants Illinois to begin taxing newsprint.

401(K)2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

Western Illinois University has a preliminary spending plan in place for next year.

State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) feel the region won’t be helped or hurt by the state spending plan that begins July 1, 2014.

The credit rating agency Moody's says Illinois is at risk of undermining progress toward better finances. It says the failure to extend current income tax rates could lead to a worsening deficit.

Moody's says because lawmakers failed to stop an automatic tax cut scheduled for the end of the year, Illinois could have to increase its backlog of unpaid bills. The state already has the lowest credit rating in the nation.

Republicans say this shows Illinois needs to further reduce costs, but Democratic Senate President John Cullerton says there isn't that much left to cut.

The General Assembly finished its legislative session shortly after midnight Saturday, approving a billion-dollar road construction program.

Democrats started the session with an ambitious agenda: raise the minimum wage, boost college assistance for low-income students, maybe even change Illinois' flat tax into a graduated one. In the end, none of that happened.

  The budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly does not rely on extending the 2011 income tax hike, as originally planned by Democratic leadership. Instead, it's based on state government borrowing from itself.

Instead of making the five percent income tax rate permanent or chopping away at government programs, lawmakers opted to fill a massive hole in state revenues by doing something called "interfund borrowing."

  Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says he's come to an agreement on state spending with the speaker of the Illinois House. But Cullerton is leaving the door open for an income tax hike after the November election.

Two months after Governor Pat Quinn laid out his vision for Illinois' budget, the House of Representatives has approved a state spending plan. Quinn presented two options: make 2011's temporary tax hike permanent, or make steep cuts across government. Lawmakers considered those options and chose ... neither.

Quinn has been clear about the potential consequences of letting Illinois' income tax rate drop, as it's scheduled to do at the end of the year.

Flickr Commons / Markheybo

An economist predicts raising the minimum wage would hurt already poor job growth in Illinois.

  Plenty can, and will, happen before voters go to the polls in November to chose their next governor. But a central theme of the campaign emerged Wednesday, when Gov. Pat Quinn proposed making permanent what was supposed to have been a temporary hike in the state's income tax. His Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, favors letting the increase lapse.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said he will call a vote this spring on making the state's temporary income tax increase permanent.

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