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|Political Expert Says Lame Duck Sessio Not Uncommon
|(IRN)-A late night, last-minute lame duck vote to raise the income tax is still the talk of the state, politically. Even though the minority Republicans are crying foul and intending to outlaw such sessions, one longtime political watcher says the Republicans ought to look in the mirror.
University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting Director Charlie Wheeler, a longtime statehouse reporter, says a Republican push in the 90's was somewhat different, though. The GOP ended its two-year control of the House with a drive of its own, with bills that included the end of straight-party ticket voting.
"There was more of a sense of urgency for them to get through this stuff that was, from my point of view, was blatantly partisan political stuff," Wheeler said. "And it had nothing to do with good government. Whereas you could make the argument that the need for a tax increase was sound public policy."
"I know there are a lot of people who are complaining about (last week's tax vote). But there are also a lot of people who think that it was something that needed to be done," said Wheeler.
Another controversial lame duck push happened in 1978, when the legislature enacted a pay raise.
"That got a lot of people fired up and Pat Quinn used it to get his cutback amendment, to get the petition drive to get enough signatures for petitions to put on the ballot in 1980 an amendment to reduce the size of the House," said Wheeler. "That's probably the most dramatic example of something happening in a lame duck session."
Last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the House and Senate used the bare minimum of votes required, with substantial help from lame ducks. to increase the state's income tax. Republicans are pursuing a Constitutional amendment to outlaw any lame duck session in the future.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
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