For a moment Friday, it seemed as if it might actually happen. Governor Quinn, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton had reached an agreement to raise the state’s income tax temporarily, boost corporate and cigarette taxes, and close the state’s $15 billion budget gap.
Cullerton was excited about getting the state’s $8 billion in unpaid bills squared away and putting that money back in the economy. Education advocates were excited for the $700 million that was to be set aside for the state’s schools. Even bond investors, who have been downgrading Illinois’s bond rating like it was a bad mortgage, were excited to invest in the state’s debt, because it looked like they’d be getting paid off promptly.
Not so fast, everybody. By the end of the day Friday, the plan looked essentially dead in the water.