Democratic Illinois lawmakers have approved a 67% income-tax increase in a desperate bid to end the state's crippling budget crisis. Legislative leaders rushed early Wednesday morning to pass the politically risky plan before new General Assembly was sworn in at noon. The increase now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He supports the plan to temporarily raise the personal tax rate to 5% from the current 3% rate. Corporate taxes also would climb.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tax collectors' offices in St. Louis city and St. Louis and St. Charles counties will be closed Dec. 31, making Dec. 30 the last day that residents of those jurisdictions can pay their property taxes for 2010 without paying a penalty. St. Louis and St. Charles counties are taking Dec. 31 off in observance of the holiday. In St. Louis, Dec. 31 is a city government furlough day. Taxpayers can mail payment or pay them online. Payments must be postmarked any time on Dec. 31 to meet the deadline. The collector's office in Jefferson county will be open.
A medical helicopter crashed landed shortly after takeoff in western Missouri Sunday morning. Three members of the flight crew were injured. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the Staff for Life helicopter had just taken off from a helipad in La Monte on Sunday morning to respond to a call when it came down at the landing zone, crashing onto the helipad located about ten miles west of Sedalia. The owner of American Paramedical Services, Inc., said the three injured were the pilot, a flight nurse and a paramedic. No patients on board at the time. The Sedalia Democrat reported that all three were in fair condition Sunday at an area hospital. The crash is under investigation.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is encouraging Illinois residents to donate their frequent flyer miles to members of the military. Quinn says the Operation Hero Miles program lets military families visit wounded service members recovering in hospitals around the world. The governor says the program is "especially important" during the holidays. The program also provides airplane tickets to service members so they can travel home on medical leave. The governor's office says the program has provided more than 20,000 donated tickets worth $27 million.