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Weekend Extra - GOVERNOR CHANGES HIS GRT PLAN *** Updated x4 ***

Saturday, Mar 31, 2007

[Password removed because others have caught up. See updates below, including links to the actual amendments.]

The governor’s office has agreed to change his proposed gross receipts tax, according to a memo obtained from his budget office.

After complaints by Senate Democrats about the number of businesses that would be hit by the GRT, the governor has agreed to raise the minimum taxation point on the gross receipts tax from $1 million to $2 million, which will impact fewer businesses.

However, the gross receipts tax rate will rise. The GRT on services will go from the initially proposed 1.8 percent up to 1.95 percent, while the rate on goods will rise from the initial 0.5 percent to 0.85 percent. The revenues the gross receipts tax will now bring in will increase from $6.3 billion to $7.6 billion.

That extra money raised by the revised GRT will be mostly used for $1 billion in property tax relief, which was not in the original plan.

The following was e-mailed to me late yesterday from the governor’s office and was slightly revised for style. All emphasis added…

Today the key components of the Governor’s Investing in Families budget plan were filed in the Senate. Thought you’d want to know the bill numbers for tracking purposes.

Senate Bill 1 contains the education funding plan, the gross receipts tax revenue plan, and a property tax relief plan. The bill language reflects a few revisions worked out with the Senate:

Gross Receipts Exemption: increases from $1 million to $2 million – 85% of all businesses in Illinois now exempted

GRT services rate: increases from 1.8% to 1.95% (increases from $1.85 on every $100 to $1.95)

GRT goods rate: increases from .5% to .85% (increases from .50 cents for every $100 to .85 cents)

Total net revenue: increases from $6.3 billion to $7.6 billion ($1.3 billion increase, rounded)

$1.3 billion covers: $250 million bonded road program; $1 billion in property tax relief

Additional highlights:

Education – stays the same/$10 billion over 4 years

Healthcare – stays the same/all uninsured get access to affordable health care

Senate Bill 2 contains bond authorization for the Governor’s $1.5 billion school construction plan, $150 million for school maintenance grants, and $30 million for early childhood capital expansions.

Senate Bill 5 contains the Governor’s Illinois Covered plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage.

Senate Bill 1090 contains language eliminating road fund transfers for SOS and ISP that cover health care and pensions for employees on our state roads (which started during the Edgar administration); these funds will instead be dedicated for bonded road construction projects. This legislation will allow the state to dedicate up to $3 billion more for the bonded road program.

*** UPDATE *** The AP has react on the plan, which they report was “forged in discussions with Senate President Emil Jones“…

Proponents say the tax would do a better job at gathering revenue as the state economy shifts from manufacturing to services.

‘’The package dramatically boosts education spending, gives every person in Illinois access to affordable health care, ensures property tax relief for homeowners around the state, invests in important infrastructure projects — and makes all of that possible by asking wealthy corporations to finally pay their fair share,'’ said Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff.

But business groups say the new plan will drive up consumer prices and discourage companies from doing business in Illinois.

Gregory Baise, the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, called the new proposal ‘’unbelievable.'’

‘’The kind of negative reaction to this tax hike will only be compounded by this lunacy,'’ Baise said. ‘’This governor wants to tax too much. He wants to spend too much on his way to ruining the Illinois economy.'’

*** UPDATE 2 *** YDD has a comparison over at Illinoize of the revised GRT and HB 750

At the end of the day, the Governor’s plan calls for $8.6 billion in new taxes, with only $1 billion in tax relief, for a net increase in taxes of $7.6 billion. Funding for K-12 classrooms will increase $1.5 billion the first year, bringing foundation level funding to schools 6% below recommended levels. Higher education will see a meager $50 million increase.

House Bill 750 generates $9.05 billion in new taxes, but provides $3.6 billion in tax relief, for a net tax increase of only $5.45 billion, or 30% less than the Governor’s plan. House Bill 750 provides $3.9 billion for K-12 classroom instruction in the first year — 260% more than the Governor’s plan, bringing the foundation level funding for schools up to 100% of recommended levels. In addition, HB 750 provides $300 million more for higher education, 600% more than the Governor’s plan.

In the final analysis, only 20% of the net new spending in the Governor’s plan goes to education, while 72% of House Bill 750’s net new spending goes to education. Granted, this doesn’t include new spending on school construction, and I’ll post comparisons of both school construction plans as soon as they are available.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Full text of pertinent amendments

* (GRT) SB1, Amendment 1

* (Illinois Covered plan) SB 5, Amendment 1

* And the synopses for all amendments can be found here.

[Hat tip: AR]

*** UPDATE 4 *** Dan Johnson-Weinberger has a post at Illinoize on a very unfavorable look at the governor’s gross receipts tax by the “progressive” Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. Dan’s post is here. The two-page study [pdf file] is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

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