I was back at it again in Springfield all week working to wrap up session, but we still have some serious issues looming as we head into the last week. We finally started working on legislation in the House, but we have yet to take up any of the Governor’s big-ticket items. I am getting worried about how we will have meaningful discussions fit into one week on huge issues including a capital bill, gaming expansion, marijuana legalization, the budget, and the massive proposed income tax hike on Illinois residents and corporations.
I was extremely happy to have my great friend Rev. Frank McCullough as my guest on the House floor to open the legislative session by leading us in prayer. Rev. McCullough is an important advisor for me, and he is doing great work as my District Outreach Coordinator helping me stay in touch with the communities of Danville and Rantoul. We have some great projects underway, and we are focused on engaging young people working to create opportunity for youth in the community. It was a true honor to have Rev. McCullough with me on Monday.
I was able to pass my fourth bill this session on Thursday. Senate Bill (SB) 1800 was an initiative of the Illinois Department of Revenue that was introduced by Senator Chapin Rose in the Senate. The bill increases the threshold for people who are required to pay estimated tax from $500 to $1000. This legislation is helpful to business owners who are required to pay an estimated tax. It also benefits seniors and others whose main source of income is investments and may not realize that they have reached the estimated threshold. It passed unanimously and will now head to the Governor’s desk.
A big highlight of the week was a visit from a group of students from Danville High School. I always enjoy visits from constituents, but I especially enjoy visiting with students from our area schools. Some of the best and most insightful feedback from the district has come from my student advisors. I appreciated them taking the time to come and visit with me in Springfield. I was able to take them onto the floor of the House and we had a great discussion on the ‘ins and outs’ of the legislative process.
We are still waiting for the big legislative bills to come forward for a vote. The Constitutional Amendment for a Graduated Income Tax passed through committee on Monday and proceeded to get a second reading on the floor of the House immediately afterward. Therefore, this bill can be called for a vote at any time. The companion bill, SB 687, passed out of the Revenue Committee on a partisan roll call of 9-6 today. This bill sets the rate structures on income thresholds that are the same for individual and joint fliers along with increasing the corporate rate.
As I have previously stated, I am strongly opposed to this proposal. This a classic Springfield Democrat move to continue to return to the taxpayer to ask for more money without fixing the structural issues that continue to plague our State. We have a responsibility to tighten our belt and use the extensive revenues we have to clean our mess up before we can go back to the people of Illinois for more money. I am not sure when the vote on this issue will occur, but be assured that I will be standing firm against the amendment!
This process is only going to get more intense and even crazier next week in Springfield. The Speaker has used much of the Session keeping legislators at bay and out of the conversation on the big issues, and now we have 5 major pieces of legislation all coming to a head during the last week. We will now be left with a short time to debate and discuss the fine details of these extremely extensive bills that will profoundly influence the future of this State. I will continue to do my level best to represent the interests of the 104th District as these issues come up. Please continue to let me know what you think. I appreciate your input more than you could ever know.