TAX CREDIT COULD CREATE JOBS
Though many fear the tax increase will drive jobs from Illinois into more business-friendly states, a $2,500 business tax credit established by House Bill 4599 (PA 96-1498) seeks to create jobs for Illinois workers. The new law provides a financial incentive for small businesses to permanently hire employees who had participated in the 2010 Put Illinois to Work temporary jobs program.
The recently signed law is a reasonable compromise to a proposal by Governor Quinn, who tried to pursue a $47 million extension of the program last year.
Republicans noted that while the original subsidized job program was well-intentioned, it failed to create permanent jobs for the vast majority of participants. Under the new law, employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible for the tax credit. Any employees hired must be paid at least $10 per hour.
STATE APPROVES LOTTERY AGREEMENT
The state came to an agreement last week with Northstar Lottery Group on the management of the state’s Lottery. Illinois is the first state to privatize its Lottery’s management and marketing, which Northstar will take control of in early July. The state will still own and oversee the program.
Finalization of the agreement comes after a controversial, months-long selection process. Though Northstar was chosen as the most competitive choice, rival bidders Camelot Group and Intralot have continually spoken out against the selection and bid process. State officials came under fire for refusing to release information on the companies that bid for the contract, or identify committee members who reviewed the bids, until the contract was awarded. The lack of public information raised eyebrows and sparked criticism, though Lottery officials contend that releasing too much information could have compromised the selection process.
Northstar received additional scrutiny because of the company’s current ties to the state’s Lottery program. Northstar is composed of three vendors that already hold contracts with the Illinois Lottery, including GTECH, which has a contract for Lottery machines; Scientific Games, which supplies instant tickets; and Energy BBDO, which handles advertising. Critics questioned whether Northstar should be allowed to essentially supervise itself.
QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT QUINN APPOINTEES
Ongoing controversy surrounding the confirmation of 38 gubernatorial appointees has been sent to the Attorney General for review. Recently, legal counsel to Senate President John Cullerton wrote to Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka requesting pay be withheld from 38 Governor Quinn appointees, saying that they had not been confirmed by the Senate.
Constitutionally, the positions are to be approved by the Senate within 60 session days of their appointment; however, Senator Cullerton’s legal counsel says the nominations are no longer valid because the 96th General Assembly adjourned without acting on them. However, Governor Quinn’s chief legal counsel maintains the Constitution says the appointees are regarded as confirmed if the Senate does not act within 60 session days.
Though the disagreement continues, Governor Quinn made temporary appointments this week to several of the positions.
ILLINOIS BANKERS ASSOCIATION OFFERS HELP
The Illinois Bankers Association is offering residents a source of information about a number of financial issues such as the current fiscal crisis, becoming a homeowner, and credit scores.
On its Web page, the IBA States that its “resources are available to inform and educate consumers in the areas of credit, mortgages, FDIC insurance, financial industry safety and soundness and other important issues.”
For more information, go to http://www.ilbanker.com/financial_solutions.asp.
FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
To help you find out what is happening at the Capitol – and learn more about the issues that affect you, your family and your friends – I have started a Facebook Page and set up a Twitter account.
Look for State Senator Bill Brady on Facebook, and on Twitter.