WILL NEXT STEP BE ROLLBACK OF TAX INCREASES?
Following the passage December 13 of legislation targeting job creation and retention, many Illinois lawmakers are now calling for a more thorough review and possibly a rollback of state tax hikes that were passed just under a year ago.
The piecemeal approach that Governor Pat Quinn and his legislative allies have taken whenever a major employer threatens to leave the state needs to be replaced by a broader and more consistent approach that will encourage job growth and reduce costs for all Illinois employers.
My Republican colleagues and I warned our Democrat colleagues last year that the 67% tax hike would damage the state’s ability to retain and grow jobs.
PROTECTING JOBS, GIVING RELIEF TO LOW-INCOME WORKERS
The latest push comes after the approval of a package of income tax exemptions and credits December 13.
Although attention has been focused on a handful of high-profile provisions, the actual components of Senate Bill 397 and Senate Bill 400 are much broader and impact many Illinois businesses.
In addition to tax changes to retain several thousand jobs at the CME Group and Sears Holding Company, Senate Bill 397 also contains a significant cut in the state’s estate tax to protect family farms and an extension of gasohol tax credits that are set to expire in 2013.
Other provisions that will help businesses invest and grow jobs in the state include extensions of the state’s Research and Development and Investment tax credits. The legislation also offers tax benefits to a downstate manufacturer of automobile filters.
Senate Bill 400 offers an expanded credit for low-income workers through the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit program and a small increase in the personal deduction for all taxpayers.
I was proud to co-sponsor the two-bill package. This legislation will pay for itself by keeping jobs here in Illinois and encouraging greater economic investment and even more job growth, as well as providing tax relief for low-income workers, small businesses and family farm owners.
CONCERNS ABOUT EFFECT OF 67% TAX INCREASE
For the past year, Senate Republicans have voiced concerns about both the effect of the 67% income tax increase and the refusal of the Governor and majority legislators to come to grips with the state’s massive overspending problem.
Despite the tax increase, Illinois will end the current fiscal year billions of dollars in the red – after pushing off more than a billion dollars in Medicaid costs into the next year. Senate Republicans laid out an extensive “Reality Check” austerity plan last spring, but it was rejected by the Governor and Democrats who control both houses of the Legislature.
Time and again, I have said that we must fundamentally change the way we do business in Springfield. It is a message that bears repeating. We need true reforms, controlled spending and good fiscal management – not expedited political solutions. I will continue to push for a responsible approach, for long overdue reforms to a system that clearly does not work. We need to change our course, before it is too late.
HELPING SMALL CEMETERIES
In other business, lawmakers approved a bill designed to correct problems created by a major cemetery reform bill passed after the 2009 Burr Oak cemetery scandal near Chicago.
Senate Bill 1830 will roll back a number of regulatory requirements that proved to be particularly burdensome and costly, especially for small cemeteries. Many lawmakers expressed concerns that small public and privately-owned cemeteries might otherwise be closed or abandoned.