Things finally started to move in Springfield this week. There were a few good things that happened and some not so good things that happened. I was proud to vote for a bill that will help guarantee equal pay for women in the workforce. It was a good bill that stipulates employers can’t ask for prior salary information to limit pay. In the year 2019, we need to make sure that people in the work place are being compensated equally for doing the same work. I was proud to vote yes on that legislation.
The biggest development since my last update is that Governor Pritzker has finally unveiled his plan for a progressive income tax. The Governor’s plan was very troubling in my opinion. I am willing to cut Governor Pritzker some slack, and I understand that with the State’s finances in such dire shape, there are no easy answers to the challenges that we face. Having said that, I feel it is incumbent upon us as lawmakers to pass some reforms to state government and to tighten our belt budgetary wise before we go asking the taxpayers for more money.
It is not only fair to ask for reforms before seeking additional revenue, it is also critical to make sure we fix the problem. The Governor’s revenue projections are very optimistic, and the question of what happens if revenues fail to match the estimates is still left unanswered. I also fear that this move will only be another incentive for people to leave the State or to come up with creative tactics to shield their income from taxes. We cannot fix our finances by raising taxes if people continue to leave Illinois. I think we need to take a smarter and more measured approach.
Two good developments happened at the end of the week. First, I was able to pass my first bill through committee. HB 3213 is a very small technical measure that will fix a couple discrepancies in the pension code. It isn’t anything earth shattering, but it sure did feel good to go through the process, and it is a success to build upon. Finally, Senator Bennett was able to unanimously pass SB 1579 through the Senate. This measure provides protection for military veterans who are eligible for a homestead exemption on his or her property taxes in the case that the veteran passes away before the process of approval is complete. This measure ensures the spouse of the deceased veteran would still be eligible for the exemption in the same way as if the approval occurred before the death. This is a common-sense fix to ensure that the spouses of our American Heroes can still get a little property tax relief even in the event of an untimely death. I applaud the Senator for his efforts on this bill and I am proud to carry the bill in the House. I have the upmost respect for our Men and Women who served this country and their families. Hopefully we can get this done for them.
I have a feeling that things are getting ready to heat up in Springfield. More and more issues are starting to move through the committee process. I will be on guard for any irresponsible spending. We must cut back to get our fiscal situation under control. I can promise you that I will be a fierce watch dog for your tax dollars. I will do what I can to stop the spending spree and ensure each and every one of you know what is going on in the most transparent manner. Information is a powerful tool, and we will use that information to push back and some day we will be able to fix this State. Thank you for your continued interest in State government. Please continue to contact my office with your concerns.