House Democrats on the spot with tax, budget votes

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois House Democrats are on the spot this week as the Legislature tries to find middle ground between two unpopular budget options.

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's continuing to hunt for 60 votes to pass an extension of the state's temporary income tax increase.

The other option -- $1.8 billion in cuts to state programs -- failed to pass Friday, forcing lawmakers back to the drawing table.

Complicating the push for the tax extension, all 71 Democrats in the House are up for re-election.
Half a dozen of them face difficult re-election bids in swing districts, and others have already pledged not to support the tax extension.
But Madigan is known for pulling together majority votes and has many methods of persuasion, including access to millions in campaign funds.

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