Brady Blasts Madigan Tax Surcharge
According to State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) a proposal from House Speaker Michael Madigan to impose a tax surcharge that punishes people who make too much money, will only cause them to leave Illinois for states with better tax policies and take the money they would have paid in taxes with them.
“This proposal imposes a 3% surcharge on people who make over a certain threshold with the promise that the revenue generated will be used to fund schools. I absolutely want to ensure proper funding for schools, but this sounds an awful lot like the time we were promised that the largest tax increase in state history, a tax we were promised was temporary, would be used to pay down state debt,” said Brady. “As we all know that promise has been broken.”
“In recent years study after study has shown that people are leaving Illinois. This targets the very people who have the greatest ability to move out of Illinois and sends a very clear message that they are not welcome here. Imposing this new surcharge will ensure that people leave Illinois and take the money they would have paid in income taxes, property taxes, sales tax, and other taxes with them.” said Brady. “Additionally, this short-sighted proposal focuses on increasing revenue, while ignoring the fact that Illinois has a spending problem. Revenue boosters are short-term solutions, we need long-term solutions to address Illinois’ out-of-control and wasteful spending.”
Brady Bill to Help Provide Disaster Relief Passes Committee
Legislation sponsored by Senator Brady creating the “Illinois Gives Initiative” to help aid victims of disaster in Illinois has passed out of the Senate State Government & Veterans Affairs Committee.
“In November, Washington, in my district, and many communities throughout central Illinois, were hit by devastating tornadoes,” said Brady. “The Illinois Gives Initiative ensures that people, like those affected by devastation in Washington, have access to more resources to help them recover after a disaster.”
House Bill 4590, which Brady worked with the Office of the Comptroller to produce, provides a mechanism for State employees and retirees to voluntarily choose to donate a portion of their check directly to declared disaster areas within Illinois.
An employee who wishes to make a contribution will be able to go on the Comptroller’s website and designate a one-time only withholding from their next state payment to aid in relief. The donations will be given as a charitable contribution payment to Illinois chapters of the American Red Cross in disaster areas.
“As Washington and other communities have dealt with the aftermath of these storms and started to rebuild we have seen time and time again how generous the people of Illinois have been,” said Brady. “The Illinois Gives Initiative is a way to make it easier for Illinoisans to help each other through difficult times.”
Governor to Deliver Budget Address…Finally
On March 26 Governor Pat Quinn is scheduled to finally deliver the budget address which had originally been scheduled for February, but was pushed back until after the March 18 primary. Lawmakers skeptically await the details of a promised five-year that Quinn says will put Illinois on the road to recovery.
Lawmakers, including Senator Brady say they want the Governor to use the budget message to lay out a clear plan to turn the state’s economy around.
It could be a tall order, since Quinn now owns one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation – higher than any neighboring state and higher than other large states. In addition, he has presided over more credit downgrades than all other Illinois Governors combined and given Illinois the worst credit rating of any state in the nation.
Two of the nation’s largest moving companies have identified Illinois as an out-migration state – with more people moving out than moving in. A recent nationwide study also showed that Illinois had one of the worst outlooks for job creation of any state.
A key component of the plan, Senator Brady said, should be the Governor’s strategy to allow the promised rollback of the state’s 67% tax hike adopted in 2011.
That tax increase has cost Illinois families a week’s pay every year since it was enacted. Republican lawmakers, who unanimously opposed the tax hike, fear the Governor and his allies will instead push for even higher taxes.
Indeed, in the run-up to the budget message, prominent Democrats have been recommending new and higher taxes.
Medicaid Reform Reversal a Bad Sign
Action taken in a Senate committee this week left Medicaid reformers frustrated when Senate Democrats blocked legislation that could have gotten the state’s bipartisan Medicaid reforms back on track.
The reforms, which target Medicaid fraud while protecting services for qualified individuals, have been bogged down by Quinn Administration actions that undermine key aspects of the state’s Medicaid reform law.
State Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) proposed legislation that would have addressed a 2013 labor arbitrator’s ruling that sidetracked an independent review process. Those independent reviews were a critical component of Medicaid reform and had successfully identified thousands of persons who did not meet qualifications but were still receiving taxpayer-paid Medicaid benefits.
Despite the bi-partisan nature of the original Medicaid reforms, the Senate’s Human Services Committee refused to advance Righter’s SB 3415.
Scrubbing of the Medicaid rolls has slowed down considerably since the state assumed responsibility for conducting the audits last year. Righter stressed that this slowdown jeopardizes access to health care for the truly needy, as an increasing number of doctors across Illinois choose not to accept Medicaid patients due to the lengthy backlog of state reimbursement payments to health care providers.
Additionally, fraud and waste in Medicaid spending continue as ineligible recipients – tens of thousands of whom no longer live in Illinois or meet basic income verification standards – continue to receive taxpayer-funded benefits.
New Mandate on Employers
Despite opposition from a number of business groups, legislation that would force employers to withhold a portion of a worker’s salary for a government-run retirement savings program won committee approval over the objections of business groups this week.
Senate Bill 2758 establishes a mandatory retirement savings program that would require all businesses with 10 or more employees to automatically deduct at least 3% from every employee’s paycheck, to be deposited in a state managed retirement account.
Employees could opt out of the program, but employers could not. Opponents pointed out that employees and employers can already participate in private individual retirement accounts. Concerns were also raised as to what liability taxpayers could face if the state-managed accounts lose money.