This just in from Dave McKinney, our Springfield Bureau chief:
The Illinois Legislature approved a hike in the sales tax for Cook and the collar counties and a higher tax on real estate transactions in Chicago today, moving a mass transit bailout package to Gov. Blagojevich's desk.
The proposal passed the Senate 30-25 after having failed there late Wednesday night by one vote.
The legislation passed the House 62-51.
Now that it goes to the the governor, he will be under intense pressure to set aside the pledge he twice campaigned on -- a promise he would veto any increases in the state sales or income taxes.
"Gov Blagojevich, my friend, you need to sign this bill," Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago), the bill's chief Senate sponsored, bellowed before the vote.
"Think about the buses and trains going up and down on the streets and tracks that are dilapidated and about to fall over. We need those buses and trains to be safe for the passengers and the bus drivers and train engineers," Hendon said.
Blagojevich has expressed his preference for a nearly $400 million diversion of state sales taxes on fuel to help prop up the Chicago Transit Authority, Pace and Metra.
The governor has said he would move to "improve" any other transit legislation to hit his desk, language a spokeswoman reiterated before this afternoon's votes.