Local lawmakers say they don’t expect the lame-duck General Assembly to vote on making the temporary income tax increase permanent, but forgive us for not sharing their confidence. We’ve seen too many votes in the wee hours, including the passage of the tax increase four years ago, to rule out any covert possibility.
Lawmakers should postpone action on major issues until governor-elect Bruce Rauner is sworn in, as he has requested. If lawmakers are confused about what qualifies, all they have to do is look down the list of campaign differences between Rauner and the man he is replacing, Gov. Pat Quinn. If they disagreed on an issue, it should be off the table for now.
That includes an increase in the minimum wage. Rauner and Quinn both support that concept. However, unlike Quinn, Rauner wants any increase tied to a package of business reforms such as workers’ comp reform. Even though the advisory referendum asked voters if they wanted the wage increased by Jan. 1, the minimum wage issue should not be decided before that.
We can’t stress enough the importance of waiting for Rauner. Illinois is like a patient in an intensive care unit: Its condition is fragile and has to be carefully maintained until the new team takes charge. For Quinn and lawmakers, that means continuing to govern but not doing anything out of haste – or spite – that potentially could make the state’s situation even worse than it already is.