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Dems tweak tax hike as deadline nears

A key vote could come Tuesday that will decide whether Illinois is headed for a tax increase.

Democratic leaders are continuing to craft a package they say will eliminate the state's multi-billion dollar deficit.

Originally it would have raised the income tax rate by 75 percent over a few years - from the current rate of three percent, up to 5.25 percent. But state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, says legislators thought that was too high. The plan would now increase the rate by 67 percent.

Trotter says the plan also includes a provision that lets the Illinois Auditor General cancel the tax hike if lawmakers start spending too much.

"All the taxes go, yes," Trotter said of the Auditor General's ability to cancel the graduated tax hike.  "We have to be on our toes.  We have to do this right this time around."

The re-tooled plan also calls for a smaller tax hike on businesses. Trotter said there's a possibility the General Assembly could pass it by Wednesday. That's when the newly-elected class of lawmakers - which includes fewer Democrats - will take office.

Republicans reject the tax proposal completely, while rank-and-file Democrats are pushing back. Some want strict new spending limits and others want a smaller increase.

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