Lawmakers in Springfield are setting records that they certainly can't be proud of. The Chicago Tribune reports that Wednesday marked the 55th day the state has gone without a budget ("a modern day record"). The government is operating under a temporary one-month budget for July, but a long-term budget is fiscally and politically necessary. There was great hope at the beginning of the 2007 legislative session that this would be the year the state's school funding problems were solved, but now there's little hope that more than a business-as-usual budget will be eventually agreed to.
Senate Democrats are promoting a 75 cent cigarette tax hike. Illinoisans are interested in a fully funded pension system, health care reform, and fixing the state's school funding situation, but a cigarette tax hike would hand the bill to those least able to pay. Apparently, powerful Senate President Emil Jones has again come out in favor of an income tax increase for school funding, but according to this article the legislature may continue to put off this progressive solution.