Senate Republican lawmakers stood with middle-income families during the week, voting against a $3.4 billion tax increase as Democrats pushed through a graduated income tax proposal with no protections for taxpayers. Proposals also emerged during the week that sponsors claimed would provide property tax relief, and repeal the estate tax, but upon closer examination, these measures were found to be part of a political game to push through a tax hike.
Senate Republicans Stand with Illinois Families and Against $3.4 Billion Tax Hike
This week, members of the Senate Republican Caucus stood with the middle-income families of Illinois and against a $3.4 billion tax increase as Illinois Democrats advanced out of the Senate a proposed graduated income tax that provides no protections for taxpayers.
Senate Republicans, who unanimously voted against the graduated income tax plan, noted that when Illinois’ current Constitution was written, its crafters chose a flat tax because it provided middle-income families with better protections from politicians.
According to data from the Tax Foundation, over the last 20 years, states with flat taxes have reduced taxes 21 times and increased them only four times, two of those four increases happening in Illinois. Over the same period of time, in states with graduated income tax structures, brackets have shifted leading to 24 income tax increases.
Just weeks ago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his proposed rates; however, the rates contained in Senate Bill 687, which passed out of the Senate this week, have already been increased from the Governor’s initial proposal. This “bait-and-switch” is exactly what Senate Republicans have been warning taxpayers about.
“Today’s Senate action continues to ignore the reality that Illinois politicians have an insatiable desire to spend more money and expand the size of government. Changing our taxing structure, without providing a means to limit spending or make it more difficult to raise taxes in the future, solves nothing. In fact, this plan will most likely only lead to more tax increases and higher spending in the future. That is why I voted no.”
In a May 1 editorial, the Daily Herald argued that, “On Wednesday, senators demonstrated that not only is that a legitimate fear but they're willing to do the switching even before the bait has been taken.”
The broader point, the paper noted, “is that the rates already are being changed to bring in more revenue, making lawmakers appear all but indifferent to the fears and misgivings of taxpayers.”
The proposal now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.
Democrats Play Games with Taxpayers’ Pocketbooks
During the week, Democrat lawmakers introduced measures that they claimed would provide property tax relief and repeal the estate tax. While their rhetoric would lead constituents to believe these proposals would move the needle on these critical issues, a closer look shows that they are little more than smoke and mirrors – part of a political game to push through a $3.4 billion tax hike.
Republicans argued that if Democrats were serious about repealing the estate tax, they could put their support behind Leader Bill Brady’s Senate Bill 1727, a measure introduced in February that is nearly identical their own proposal – except that it’s not tied to the implementation of a graduated income tax. The estate tax was previously repealed on Jan. 1, 2010, only to be reinstated a year later on Jan. 1, 2011.
Meaningful property tax relief has long been a priority for Senate Republican lawmakers. During debate, Republican Senators noted that the Democrat proposal that emerged this week, which is also tied to the implementation of a graduated income tax, is not real relief.
Senate Bill 690 would provide for tax relief only if a series of stringent requirements are met – a situation that would be so unlikely to occur that the proposal is not likely to result in any property tax relief. Not only does the bill only apply to school districts, it also does nothing to prevent municipalities and other local entities from raising rates.
As people throughout Illinois get their property tax bills this month and see that this year’s bill is higher than last year’s bill, this legislation would nothing to stop that trend from continuing.
Instead of playing political games with taxpayers’ pocketbooks, Senate Republicans are urging their colleagues on the other side of the aisle to come to the table to negotiate real reforms that will put money back in the pockets of Illinois families.
Senate adopts legislation to help college students transfer classes
College students may soon have an easier time transferring credits from one institution to another, as the Illinois Senate has advanced legislation sponsored by State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo).
“The failure of credits to transfer is one of the greatest sources of frustration for students and parents in Illinois higher education,” said Schimpf. “This resolution helps us identify and resolve the problems that prevent full credit transfer.”
Senate Joint Resolution 22 is an initiative of the Higher Education Working Group, of which Senator Schimpf is a member. The legislation is aimed at getting the state’s higher education system in better compliance with the Illinois Articulation Initiative, which was an effort created to ease the transfer of students between colleges and universities. Schimpf’s legislation specifically directs the Illinois Board of Education and Community College Board to work together to identify any shortcomings in meeting the goals of that initiative.
The resolution is now in the Illinois House for consideration in that chamber.
On Wednesday, Kelly Bunselmeyer and Jacob Lodge from Trico High School served as Schimpf's honorary pages. They had the opportunity to witness the debates on the progressive tax rate legislation.
Sharon Francois from the Jefferson County Historical Society and Sharon Bradham representing Cedurhurst, two leaders in the Mt. Vernon museum community, visited the Senator at the Capitol on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Senator Schimpf was honored to attend two events at Mt. Vernon Township High School, the FFA 90th Annual Awards Banquet and the 2019 Fine Arts Program Festival.
Police Memorial Held in Springfield
The 2019 Illinois Police Officers Memorial Ceremony was held on May 2 in Springfield. This annual ceremony honors the brave men and women who have given their lives in the performance of their duty.
On the west lawn of the Illinois State Capitol stands a monument to these dedicated public servants. Inscribed on the monument are the names of fallen heroes. This year, four current names and two historic names will be added to the monument.
The four current names to be added this year include Commander Paul Bauer, Officer Samuel Jimenez, Officer Conrad Gary and Officer Eduardo Marmolejo, all of the Chicago Police Department. Historic names include Constable Benjamin Martin of the Moqeaqua Police Department, and John Shaw of the Virden Police Department.