State Rep. Tom Holbrook, D-Belleville, calls it the “gorilla on the block.”
It’s Illinois’ recession-battered economy, which has pushed Illinois to the brink of a $15 billion budget abyss. The Illinois General Assembly will be confronting this historic deficit when its 97th legislative session begins today.
Holbrook and other metro-east lawmakers interviewed agreed that dealing with the state budget deficit — rated by many fiscal experts nationwide as the nation’s worst — will be priority No. 1 between now and the end of the legislative session in May.
How to deal with the deficit is the big question.
Gov. Pat Quinn is considering a range of options, including the borrowing of $12.2 billion to pay off outstanding bills and pension debts, plus raising the state income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent — a 66 percent spike.
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