Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Update on Senate budget package

As mentioned in the last Alliance Legislative Report, the Illinois State Senate had introduced a package of bills that contained a proposed budget compromise. The plan was to vote on the bills today in committees and Wednesday on the Senate floor. However, with too many questions to be asked about the mammoth legislative package, it looks as though no votes will be taken.

Committees did meet in the Senate to discuss the provisions of the pending compromise, but it was for discussion purposes only and no votes were taken. The Alliance testified before the Senate Executive Committee about the detrimental effects of a property tax freeze and the need for local district flexibility and mandate relief. Other organizations lined up to talk about every side of every issue.

Many provisions of the package changed today after feedback from interest groups and further negotiations between the caucuses. The sugary drinks tax appears to have given way to a proposed tax on services (based on the Wisconsin model), a higher individual income tax rate, and an “opportunity tax” that will assess a tax on corporations depending upon the size of their payrolls. Gaming expansion may include video gaming at auto racing tracks.

The House of Representatives is moving at a more deliberate pace. As of Monday, House committees had not even been created for members to be appointed to. Today’s floor action has centered around the adoption of the House rules which routinely has the minority party crying foul about unjust treatment by the majority party.