Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
While prospects for achieving a three-fifths vote of senators in the Democratic-controlled chamber are considered good, getting the same super-majority in the Democratic-led House is believed questionable at best. Earlier this week, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said the proposed constitutional amendment was “significantly short” of the 71 votes needed to put it on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The House sponsor of the plan, Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, said he couldn’t say whether he had the required support needed for passage “at the moment.” Vote counts, he said, “are dynamic and ever changing.” Harmon, however, said he was “confident I have the votes in the Senate.”
In an effort to make the proposal more politically palatable, Harmon and Mitchell have proposed separate state legislation that would replace the state’s current 5 percent personal income tax rate, which is set to revert to 3.75 percent in January, with a three-bracket income tax. The first $12,500 in income would be taxed at 2.9 percent, income on top of that to $180,000 would be taxed at 4.9 percent, and all income above $180,000 would be taxed at 6.9 percent.
* Speaking of taxes, take a look at these opposing guest editorials concerning the motor fuel tax. The first is from Doug Whitley…
User fees are a fair and practical funding source for transportation infrastructure. It ensures that those who drive more — and therefore place more wear on our infrastructure — would pay more. Thanks to greater fuel efficiency and no motor fuel tax increases, today’s motorists contribute much less to support highway construction than in prior decades.
We cannot let our transportation networks deteriorate and become our next crushing problem like pensions and education. We need a better way forward that assures a reliable, predictable and stable funding stream to support our mobility and prosperity. We must accept the responsibility to be good stewards of our present and future transportation needs, and that time is now.
A counter from Bill Fleischli of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association…
Clearly, the state needs to maintain its infrastructure, but we need to get behind the wheel and stop this push for higher fuel taxes. Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland released a report in 2013 that found Illinois spent less than half of its dedicated road fund dollars directly on road construction costs in eight of the prior 10 fiscal years.
Taxpayers should be outraged. Gas station owners and convenience store retailers are opposed to any plan that would have Illinois drivers paying more to fill-up their gas tanks.
There have been no votes in the Illinois General Assembly on specific proposals to raise the motor fuel tax in 2014, but there is a concerning amount of conversation about the possibility.
That possibility has at least been raised over in the House where the Revenue & Finance and State Government Administration Committees have been working towards a package of tax code changes.
* And here is a budget and state government round-up. Notice the re-appearance of a few doom and gloom stories…
* Minimum wage workers, state lawmakers clash on fair pay, taxes: If the state were to adopt this structure lawmakers would set the new rates. That brings up concerns for opponents. “There’s no limit on that which means they can raise it to whatever level they want and it’s going to be middle class families that get hurt the most.” -says 35th District State Senator Dave Syverson.
* Illinois lawmakers suggest abandoning resort: In a hearing to discuss the Illinois Department of Natural Resources budget Thursday, state Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, asked whether agency officials had considered giving up on the 25-year-old state-owned Eagle Creek Resort south of Findlay. “Why don’t we get rid of it?” Burke asked. Natural Resources Director Marc Miller did not dismiss the idea, telling a panel of lawmakers that the state faces challenges when it comes to making Eagle Creek financially viable. The 138-room lodge has been closed since 2009 because of an outbreak of mold. A Decatur company brought in to repair the damage in 2010 walked away from the job earlier this year because of a dispute with the agency.
* Do cuts loom for disaster agency?
* Jail is costly place for mental health care
* Quinn: $60 million for Center for Performing Arts an investment in WIU’s future
* I-Team: More school security concerns in Illinois than funding
* Cristal Thomas: Protecting Illinois’ pregnant workers shouldn’t be a heavy lift