BATTLE FOR GRADUATED INCOME TAX BEGINS
Just two weeks after the Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R - Western Springs) introduced a non-binding resolution (
the implementation of the of a graduated income tax, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D - Chicago) introduced a counter resolution (
the implementation of a graduated income tax in Illinois. The dueling resolutions are signs that the battle and polarity of the two parties on the issue has commenced.
Illinois currently has a flat tax system, which taxes individuals at a flat rate of 4.95% and corporations at 7%. Any change to the current flat system would require an amendment to the Illinois Constitution. Amending the Constitution is not easy. Any change requires a three-fifths approval from both the House and Senate and then the voters would need to approve the measure in any upcoming election. It is also important to note that Constitutional amendment's bypass the governor's desk.
A bill would also have to be approved in addition to the Constitutional amendment to establish the brackets and rates for a new tax structure.
Given the drop-dead deadline for any passage of a resolution amending the Constitution is next week (and given the House is not in session next week), it is difficult for the Democratic majority to run an attempt to implement a graduated income tax proposal this year.
Therefore, the earliest we could see a graduated income tax system is on the 2020 ballot.
For the time being, the Speaker will run his non-binding resolution as a battle cry for the growing progressive constituency in which they represent. Next week in Chicago, the House Revenue and Finance Committee will hold a subject matter hearing on Madigan's resolution in favor of a graduated income tax.
The two gubernatorial candidates for governor are at odds on the issue. Gov. Rauner is opposed to the idea as it would increase taxes on businesses and middle-class earners. Democratic nominee JB Pritzker has come out in favor of implementing a graduated rate (aka as a "progressive income tax"), saying the so-called rich need to "pay their fair share."
Given the clock will run out on approving Constitutional amendments to the voters for this year and given that there are currently not enough votes in the House to approve a graduated income tax; these dueling resolutions set the stage for what appears to be a front burner issue in the race for governor. Expect to hear plenty about a graduated income tax over the next 2 years.
The Chamber is opposed to a graduated income tax and will be testifying in next week's committee hearing in Chicago.
ATTEMPT TO UNDUE SMALL CELL LAW BAD FOR BIZ
A proposal that would undue a newly enacted law in Illinois is bouncing around the Illinois House. Public Act
, was signed into law by Governor Rauner on April 12. This new law provided for small cell 5G internet deployment throughout Illinois (outside of Chicago). HB 1187 (Zalewski) includes provisions that would derail 5G deployment, the next broadband wireless technology, and kill thousands of jobs and billions of infrastructure investment.
The Illinois General Assembly spent a year negotiating and passing small cell legislation that will bring huge noticeable investment and benefits to both Illinois consumers and businesses. In that extensive year-long negotiation, the wireless industry agreed to dozens of changes to address the concerns of local governments, resulting in a fair and balanced regulatory framework.
HB 1187 would effectively eliminate the benefits of the recently signed into law, which establishes a uniform statewide process intended to streamline the deployment of small cell wireless facilities to avoid a patchwork of unreasonable and impending regulations.
Statewide deployment of 5G internet will -- over seven years -- will create nearly 100,000 jobs in the state and attract nearly $8.9 billion in investment to Illinois. Realizing these benefits requires an updated regulatory framework that promotes and facilitates small wireless facilities. HB 1187 blocks the way.
CHAMBER ADVOCATES FOR BLUE COLLAR JOBS ACT
Tyler Diers director of legislative relations spoke in favor of
(K. Wheeler) at a press conference on Thursday. This bill would create the Blue Collar Jobs Act offer businesses a 50% tax credit of the cost of labor cost of a capital improvement project in Illinois. To be eligible for the credit, businesses must use Illinois workers. The bill also contains a credit sweetner for construction that is done in "underserved areas" of the state. The bill has support of both business groups and labor.
MASICH TESTIFIES TO REVAMP ENTERPRISE ZONES
On Thursday, Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch testified in a House subject matter hearing on Enterprise Zones. Maisch talked about how the Illinois Chamber supports efforts to streamline the Enterprise Zone selection process. to end the current "Hunger Games" competition between existing zones and new zones. The legislation eliminates the cap on the number of Enterprise Zones.
Maisch highlighted the Chamber's proposal,
(Althoff) as a fresh approach to much needed reform to the state's Enterprise Zone Act. The Chamber believes that the Enterprise Zone Act should be amended to make the scoring of enterprise zone applications more objective and to add points for any existing or former zone that demonstrates success in addressing the criteria in Section 4 of the Act that formed the basis of the most recent approved application for enterprise zone designation.
Under the Chamber proposal, the Act is amended to provide that the Enterprise Zone Board shall approve any application that receives at least 200 points. The bill adds standards for Board review of a new application of any applicant zone that was previously decertified for cause. New zones must continue to comply with the statutory requirements for zone designation e.g. demonstrate that the proposed zone is a "depressed area" as that term is defined in the Act.
As opposed to his predecessor, House Revenue and Finance Chairman Zalewski has been more receptive towards looking into Enterprise Zones. We look forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to look into ways to reform the Enterprise Zone selection process.
ENVIRO BILL FAILS IN THE SENATE (FOR NOW)
A proposal opposed by the Illinois Chamber failed to pass by one vote in the Illinois Senate yesterday.
(Biss) would require that Illinois environmental laws and regulations, as well as workplace safety laws, remain as strict or more stringent than federal laws in place before January 19, 2017. The amendment sunsets the bill after three years from the enactment date and removes the citizen suit and private right of action. While the amendment makes the bill better, it is still bad policy for Illinois and could make our state less competitive among our neighbors if certain environmental regulations were modified and Illinois could not comply.
The sponsor pulled the bill and placed it on postponed consideration where he will have one more shot at passing the bill. The Chamber remains opposed. For more questions, please reach out to
"RIGHT TO REPAIR" DEAD IN HOUSE