Madigan: Pritzker revenue plan being ‘ratcheted down’ by lawmakers

By Grant Morgan and Lindsey Salvatelli Capitol News Illinois

House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks Monday to students in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield. Madigan talked about sports gambling and legalizing recreational marijuana during his visit with the students, each of whom are working as interns this spring at the Statehouse for print and broadcast media. (Photo by Lindsey Salvatelli/Capitol News Illinois)

SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Michael Madigan doesn’t make a lot of media appearances, but this morning he talked with student journalists who are covering the Statehouse in a graduate school program.

In his visit with the Public Affairs Reporting program class at the University of Illinois Springfield, Madigan (D-Chicago) said legislative committees in control of budget appropriations have taken Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed levels of spending in next year’s budget and “ratcheted them down” in case measures supporting that spending do not pass.

Those measures include legalizing recreational marijuana and sports betting, which Madigan said are “not guaranteed today.”

And while he supports Pritzker’s attempts to change the state’s income tax structure from a flat to a graduated rate, Madigan said the Senate moved too quickly when it debated for only 7 minutes May 1, before passing a bill and resolution that would put an amendment question on the 2020 ballot. He said the Senate should have “given it more time.”

The Senate on May 1, approved a bill and resolution that would put an amendment question on the 2020 ballot about instituting tax rates based on income.

Madigan’s comments indicate a slower-than-expected pace of passing new legislation with Democrats in control of the Legislature and governor’s office.

“Have you ever worked with Democrats?” he joked.

Of Republican lawmakers who say they are not being included in the legislative process, he said they have a “pretty clear record of nonparticipation,” especially regarding the budget, in recent years, but that he is “willing to work with them.”

Responding to a question about running for reelection in 2020, Madigan said, “Why not?”

Capitol News Illinois will provide further coverage of Madigan’s visit later today.