- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn outlined his proposed $36.8 billion 2015 budget on Wednesday. Here’s a look at what it includes:


- Making temporary tax increase permanent: Quinn wants to keep the individual income tax rate at 5 percent. That rate - which lawmakers raised from 3 percent as part of a 2011 temporary tax hike - is scheduled to drop to 3.75 percent in January. That would mean more money in taxpayers’ pockets, but a $1.6 billion dip in state revenues.

- “Guaranteed” $500 property tax refund: Quinn would give every Illinois homeowner a $500 property tax refund. It would replace the 5 percent property tax credit Illinois homeowners currently receive. The Quinn administration says the average credit statewide is currently $247.

- Earned income tax credit doubled: Quinn’s plan doubles the earned income tax credit during the next five years. The governor’s office said in January about 900,000 working families received $160 million in 2013 because of this tax credit. They say a married couple with three children earning $30,000 last year saved $265 in state taxes.

- Education funding increases: The governor wants to increase funding for education by $344 million next year and $6 billion over the next five years. Quinn’s five-year plan calls for $1.5 billion for the “Birth to Five” initiative, an early childhood education program he introduced in his State of the State address in February. It also doubles funding for Monetary Award Program grants for college students from lower income families.

- Tax cuts for job training: The plan would provide tax cuts for businesses that provide job training for workers. Quinn says that lowering the cost of training workers will make it easier to create new jobs.

- Spending caps and the “rainy day” fund: Quinn called for setting “solid spending caps” he says would ensure Illinois never defers its obligations. He also said the state needs to create a “rainy day” fund, where reserves are built in strong economic times and used in hard times. The administration did not provide details for these plans.

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