Gov. Pat Quinn unveiled his proposed 2011 budget Wednesday, and the one thing everyone seems to agree on is they don't like it.
Quinn proposed a 33 percent income tax increase Wednesday that he said would prevent deep cuts to education funding, part of a budget plan that depends mostly on borrowing money and letting unpaid bills pile up for another year.
He presented legislators with a stark choice: Cut support for schools by $1.3 billion or approve a tax increase. But even with a tax increase and spending cuts, Quinn's budget would depend on letting about $6 billion in bills simply go unpaid in the coming year.
He asked lawmakers to raise the tax rate to 4 percent, up from 3 percent now. That would generate $2.8 billion a year, the same amount he sought unsuccessfully last year. His staff said the money would go solely to prevent education cuts and to make overdue payments to Illinois schools.
Quinn's proposal would "balance" the budget by cutting expenses $2 billion, borrowing $4.7 billion to pay overdue bills and simply letting about $6.3 billion in bills go unpaid until the next fiscal year.
If Quinn gets a tax increase, the $1.3 billion in education cuts would be abandoned. That means the total spending cuts would amount to only about $700 million. Quinn aides say the governor already has cut about $2 billion in bureaucratic spending.
Between bills left over from the current year and the projected gap next year, the total deficit will top $13 billion, Quinn said.
Local legislators noted Quinn's proposal said nothing about controlling the cost of pensions, and Quinn's opponent in the November election, Bill Brady, called for a 10 percent across the board budget cut.
What do you think of the budget proposal?