Possible tax hike on horizon to help ease budget deficit


As Governor Pat Quinn learns the true extent of the state's fiscal crisis, the potential for a tax increase continues to grow.

Quinn has been governor just over a week now, but he's been on a steep learning curve finding out the full magnitude of the problems facing Illinois, not the least of which is a budget deficit of historic proportions. 

"A $9-billion deficit is what we have to come to terms with even though we're going to get a one or two year respite or some assistance in two years in dealing with it," said State Comptroller Daniel Hynes.

Hynes delivered the sobering news to the governor who is not ruling out tax hikes as a solution to the fiscal crisis

"I'm gonna talk about that in March at the budget address, but between now and then, we'll be looking at all the different nooks and crannies in state government," Quinn said. "We've got to tighten our belts wherever possible, but obviously we have a giant hole to fill."

How do we keep that hole from getting any deeper? 

"No growth in any expenditures except paying off Medicaid bills and the natural growth of the Medicaid program and paying our pension contribution," Hynes said. "That means our assumption is no increase for education, higher education, human services, corrections, anything. 

Quinn says the success of any recovery plan depends in part on teamwork. He says he is a big believer in unity and has little use for those who think otherwise.   

Current Conditions