Illinois lawmakers are off to a busy start this year. The 97th Illinois General Assembly will be sworn in next week but current House and Senate members are already back at work for a short veto session.
Among the items up for consideration are proposals to bring casino gambling to Chicago, as well as tax increases. Last week Illinois governor Pat Quinn floated an idea for a $15 billion borrowing plan to restructure state finances to cover short term budget needs. Illinois Public Radio reporter Sean Crawford told Eight Forty-Eight host Alison Cuddy on Tuesday that lawmakers are discussing the plan, as well as ways to generate additional revenue for the state.
Proposals include a gambling package, which could generate up to $1 billion in additional annual revenue for the state. A possible increase in cigarette taxes is also on the table, as is Quinn's push for a 1% income tax increase.
While the General Assembly has been reluctant to raise taxes, lawmakers aren't ruling it out. "For the first time there may be some movement on this," says Crawford.
Meanwhile the Senate is scheduled to vote on a major proposal to bring a carbon-capture coal plant to Taylorville, Illinois. The House has approved the measure.
Crawford says although the plant will likely lead to higher electric rates for consumers, he said the House may have the votes to approve it. Advocates for the project claim it will be a big boost to the state's economy, and to clean coal technology.
The new legislature is scheduled to be sworn in next week at the state capitol in Springfield.