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November 4, 2020

This Week in Illinois 

Wow- that was an exhausting Election Day and we still don't know many of the results.  We sent an election preview on Monday and that feels like weeks ago.  There will be a lot of ink spilled analyzing the legislative races, and the GAR will give a breakdown of those results next week when we have more information.  We do want to point out that the Senate Democrats picked up one seat (formerly occupied by soon to be Congressman Jim Oberweis) and the House Republicans picked up two seats. 

Prior to next week's big results update,  we wanted to provide an breakdown on the three races we highlighted just 48 short hours ago.   The original commentary is in black and the updates are in red. 

Progressive Income Tax

Illinois voters resoundingly rejected the attempts to alter the Illinois Constitution and impose a progressive income tax on Illinois taxpayers and businesses by a vote 55-44%. Don't just take our word for it, the Effingham Daily News reported the following
"Opposition, led in large part by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, has centered on what the tax would do to businesses and what lawmakers might do in the future if voters give them the opportunity to levy taxes on portions of the electorate at any one time, rather than on every taxpayer at once."

The Illinois Chamber's number one priority is the first vote on your ballot this year, the Progressive Income Tax Amendment.  You may have heard of this as the so-called "Fair Tax".  This misnomer would allow much more unchecked government power while stripping Illinoisans of important constitutional taxpayer protections- not only for a flat income tax, but to only a single tax on income and a ceiling on taxes for the business community. You can learn more in our informative videos here

You can also view our constantly updated ChambersAgainstTax site for the latest information, including  'Will the Last Taxpayer in Illinois Please Turn Out the Lights: An Economic Assessment of the Illinois Fair Tax'. The study, published by Medal of Freedom recipient Arthur Laffer, Ph.D., author Stephen Moore, and Erwin Antoni, Ph.D., dives into the economics of why this is the worst possible time to raise income taxes on small business owners.  

If you don't have time for videos and studies, let us leave you with this warning from the state of Connecticut. Voters in that state enacted a higher tax rate that applied only to payers making more than $500,000 starting in 2009. Just two years later, higher rates kneecapped those making as little as $50,000, or just 1/10th of the original promise. If you don't want that happening here, encourage your networks to VOTE NO.

Supreme Court Races
There are two Illinois Supreme Court races that, unfortunately, tend to be overlooked, but the results have massive ramifications.

The first race is in the southernmost 37 counties of Illinois. Judge David Overstreet is running against Judge Judy Cates to replace retiring Justice Lloyd Karmeier. Both judges currently serve on the 5th District Appellate Court. Judge Overstreet is supported by the entire business community, including the Illinois Chamber. Judge Cates is the former president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. The Illinois Chamber has been an early financial supporter of Judge Overstreet in his primary and now in the general election campaigns. 

Judge Overstreet will be elevated to the Illinois Supreme Court. He  won 62% of the vote. 

The second race is the non-retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride. His district includes Will and Kankakee counties and stretches west to the Iowa border. Justice Kilbride is a reliable ally of the Trial Lawyers and has authored several controversial opinions such the 4-3 decision rejecting the Fair Maps Amendment.  

If Justice Kilbride is not retained, a successor will be appointed and a partisan race will be on the ballot in 2022. That race could flip the makeup of the court from Democratic to Republican, just in time to hear opposition to the newest legislative map. The map, as many of you already know, is the key to majorities in Springfield and the enactment of policy. The Chamber held a press conference last month to encourage a NO vote. 

Voters decided not to retain Justice Kilbride by a margin of 56-43%.  He needed 60% to prevail.  The 2022 race to replace him, and which will determine the partisan makeup of The Illinois Supreme Court, will be one for the record books.  Rest assured the Chamber will remain very involved. 

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If you have questions about the Government Affairs Report, contact Clark Kaericher at Do not reply to this email. 

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2020 Government Affairs Report | Clark Kaericher, Editor