Friday, June 05, 2009

Speaker Madigan, House Republican Leader Cross, Senate President Cullerton, Gov. Quinn and Senate Republican Leader Radogno speak w/ the media

Jeff Berkowitz: Is it your perception based on today's lunch that the Republican Leaders will support an income tax increase at some point?

Gov. Quinn: We’ll get there, sooner or later.
Jeff Berkowitz: But, can you see, Leader Radogno, can you see the Republicans and you [as Senate Republican Leader] supporting an income tax increase, at some point.

Senator Radogno: Not necessarily.
It seemed like the only civil thing to do. Unable to complete the budget process by the May 31 date [after which, legislation requires 60% to pass], the Governor and the four tops—the Democratic and Republican legislative leaders-- sat down for a luncheon discussion yesterday of how they might begin to complete the budget process. The lunch was hosted by Gov. Quinn in his Thompson Center offices. From their body language and the comments made to the media after the lunch, the leaders seemed pretty respectful of each other and ready to work things out.

Various conservative groups celebrated on Monday morning the inability of a group of pro-tax increase Dems to pass, this past weekend, in both chambers a big increase in the State income tax [the Senate Dems did pass a 67% increase in the income tax and an expansion of the sales tax]. These conservatives might be concerned to see that House Republican Leader Cross and Senate Republican Leader Radogno did not shut the door completely on a big income tax increase. It is clear they want reforms and spending cuts before they consider tax increases. But, if the reforms and spending cuts occur, will Radogno and Cross cut a deal with Gov. Quinn, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton to raise the income tax and/or expand the sales tax to include services? We report, you decide. [For a different perspective on yesterday’s lunch, please watch here].
Jack Conaty, Fox News Chicago, WFLD: So, the tax increase is not on the table?

Speaker Mike Madigan [D-Chicago]: Well, I would say for some people in the room, the tax increase is on the table. As you know, I have said from day one, I was prepared to vote for the income tax increase to balance the budget and pay the bills. That failed. Now, we’re looking at working with a slimmed down budget. [Watch a two minute clip of Speaker Mike on Blago last August, about six minutes into the show].
House Republican Leader Tom Cross [R-Plainfield]: …We haven’t done re-districting, we haven’t changed the primary date… you need some long term structural change to how we do budgets in this state and that may be met on pensions, on Medicaid, on spendings, on new programs and we are going to insist on finding ways to structurally change the way we run Illinois government from a budget standpoint before we have any other discussions about revenue
Senate President John Cullerton [D-Chicago]: Today was a very productive meeting where we discussed primarily the areas where we can save money. That’s something we know we have to do first, to cut government spending…we’re also aware of the fact, at least in the Senate Democratic caucus, that there’s going to be a need for some income, after we finish doing that cutting. We didn’t focus a lot on that today, but that’s something that’s going to be inevitable, as well. [Watch a show with Senator Cullerton in June, 2008].
Another reporter: State parks stay open?

Gov. Pat Quinn [D-Chicago]: I don’t want to do what California did, which is close state parks, stop summer school-- you know, we don’t want to do that in Illinois. We’re the land of Lincoln, we can do anything when the people band together for a cause and I think it is important that we understand that the toughest challenges-- maybe of our lifetime-- are right now and we aren’t going to shirk from the challenges. We are going to do what has to be done in the best traditions of government of the people, and by the people and for the people. It will not perish from this earth because we know democracy is the way to solve problems. [Watch a five minute clip of Gov. Quinn last month on taxes].

Jeff Berkowitz: Is it your perception based on today that the Republican leaders will support an income tax increase at some point?

Gov. Quinn: We’ll get there, sooner or later.

Robert Reed, Press Secretary to the Governor: Okay, thank you, everyone. [Formal presser with Quinn and the four tops, i.e., legislative leaders, concludes at this point].
Derrick Blakley, CBS-2 News]: But, if there is ethics reform, how much has to be cut before your side of the aisle can put votes for some kind of revenue increase?

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno [R-Lemont]: Well, you know, we have to look at a global picture. It has to be cuts across the board, and ethics reforms and the focus on job creation-- as Representative [and Republican House Leader Tom] Cross said. So, it is a multifaceted approach and those things I think we all recognize have to happen before the revenue, especially. [Watch Senator Radogno].

Jeff Berkowitz: But, can you see, Leader Radogno, can you see the Republicans and you [as Senate Republican Leader] supporting an income tax increase, at some point.

Senator Radogno: Not necessarily.

Jeff Berkowitz: And, did you communicate that today to Speaker Mike Madigan.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno: I’ve said that publicly. I mean I am certainly-- I don’t think it is good policy to increase income taxes in this environment.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you say not necessarily. Is it likely, even with those reforms—

Senator Radogno: I said, again, not necessarily—

Jeff Berkowitz: But, possibly? [Post-game interview concludes, as Senate Republican Leader Radogno leaves the locker room].
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at *************************************************************
"Public Affairs," is a weekly political interview show airing in Chicago on CANTV, in the Chicago metro area, Aurora and Rockford on Comcast and also often on the Illinois Channel. You can watch the shows, including archived shows going back to 2005, here.
"Hot," recent posted shows on the Public Affairs YouTube page include the fastest five minutes on the web- a New York Times video about Obama-Berkowitz,a show with Dan Proft, a Chicago media personality and also a possible candidate for Governor in the 2010 Republican Primary, a show with State Senator and possible Republican candidate for Governor, Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), a show with the's Tom Bevan about Obama's First 100 days and assessing Obama, a show with Senator Steans about budget deficits and education reform, and the second fastest five minutes on the web- a segment of Bill O'Reilly with Berkowitz discussing a clip of Obama from 2002 on Blagojevich. All other shows from the last two years are also included.
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