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One goofy bill can distort a career

Friday, Feb 25, 2011

* Some commenters gave Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) a lot of heat yesterday for announcing that he’d introduce legislation to require those fleeing Wisconsin and Indiana Democratic state lawmakers to pay income taxes to Illinois while they’re here.

The announcement was, in my opinion, basically an attention-grabbing stunt and mostly a joke. But, overall, Tryon is one of the more thoughtful House members. He has several good bills in the hopper to make government run better. For instance

Creates the Long-Term Accounting Act of 2011. Provides that the purpose of the Act is to improve transparency and accountability during the State budget process

And

Amends the Legislative Information System Act. Requires, for the 98th General Assembly and thereafter, the Legislative Information System to make available on the General Assembly’s website each vote taken on a bill in any committee of the General Assembly showing, in searchable form, each committee member’s vote, Representative or Legislative District, and political party.

He’s also a co-sponsor of a bipartisan resolution calling on the governor to rescind his zeroing out of substance abuse treatment programs.

But all that will be ignored while the media includes Tryon’s new bill in its national feeding frenzy

Tryon said he opposed a 2007 bill that extended the 5% Illinois tax to temporary workers — including professional athletes and movie stars. But if it’s on the books, the Wisconsin senators should pay, Tryon said.

“We believe they are working because they are on TV saying they are working,” he said.

Sun-Times

Tryon’s maneuver, essentially, is all for political show since there is virtually no chance Illinois’ Democratic-led House will allow the measure to move, particularly given how the state budget meltdown is first and foremost on the legislative agenda.

“We’re dealing with a huge budget problem in our state,” said Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), whose legislative district has hosted the Wisconsin legislative delegation. “I know we can have some fun with this … but we have to be very focused on what we’re doing. We have plenty of problems in Illinois, more than most states do.”

When Jack Franks whacks you for showboating on a tax issue, you know you’ve gone too far. [/Snark]

Tryon’s bill has been filed, but yesterday was the filing deadline, so LIS is behind. I’ll link to it later today, but here’s the text…

(v) Compensation paid to nonresident state legislators.

The Illinois source income of a nonresident individual who is a member of a state legislature other than Illinois includes the portion of the individual’s total compensation for services performed as a legislator when: (a) the legislator is physically located in Illinois; and (b) the legislator is in Illinois for the purpose of denying a quorum to the legislative body of which the legislator is a member.

Illinois source income shall not count as income any segment of a legislator’s total compensation for services covering time periods when the legislator is in Illinois for reasons of legitimate legislative business, other than denial of a quorum, or for the purpose of receiving required health care or assisting a member of the legislator’s family to receive required health care.

* Meanwhile, it’s turning into somewhat of a circus in Urbana, where several Indiana Democratic legislators are holed up

Anyone looking for a quiet getaway with no distractions at the Urbana Comfort Suites this week may be out of luck.

And for a group of Indiana Democrats seeking asylum from voting on what they call a radical bill, the cat’s out of the bag.

A group of Tea Partiers today are rallying outside the hotel on North Lincoln Avenue – they are telling the Indiana state legislators to go home. Across the parking lot driveway, another group – mostly University of Illinois students – has gathered to counter the Tea Party rally and to tell the legislators and passing cars that they are happy to give shelter to the out-of-state representatives.

The Democrats have left Indianapolis to block a vote on a Republican-supported “right-to-work” bill that prohibits union membership from being a condition of employment.

The paper has even compiled a tongue in cheek list of things to do while the Indiana Democrats are in town

1. Meet the mayor: You have a lot in common with Laurel Prussing, Urbana’s two-term mayor. She’s a Democrat and she was an Illinois House member in the 1990s.

* The Indiana House adjourned yesterday with no end in sight to the stalemate

Indiana House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer said Thursday he’s not sure whether boycotting Democrats will return to the Statehouse on Monday because so far “nothing’s changed” as House Republicans refuse to negotiate or drop contentious labor and education bills from their agenda.

Most Democrats have fled to Illinois in an effort to derail legislation they consider an assault on the working class. Republicans who control the House adjourned until Monday after Democrats said they won’t be back this week.

Bauer, D-South Bend, said Democrats won’t return from Urbana, Ill., where they fled Tuesday, until House Republicans are willing to negotiate their agenda. He said he would like to meet with Wisconsin Senate Democrats who also have fled to Illinois to block GOP-backed legislation that would strip public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights. Bauer said such a meeting would be like a pair of crime victims meeting to talk about their attacker.

And Gov. Daniels is turning up the heat

Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law Thursday a plan aimed at fixing Indiana’s debt-ridden unemployment fund that labor unions had opposed because it will reduce jobless benefits for some people while softening business tax increases.

* The national fight over labor rights has moved to another neighboring state. Iowa

Despite 15 hours of debate and delay by Democrats, Republicans in the House Labor Committee were finally able to pass a bill Friday morning that would weaken collective bargaining rights for Iowa’s public employees.

Democrats offered 48 amendments, starting at noon Thursday and culminating in a 9 to 5 party-line vote around 6 a.m. Friday morning. The bill – House Study Bill 117 — was left unchanged and will now go to the full House.

The legislation makes numerous changes to collective bargaining laws, ranging from allowing the legislature or governor to veto decisions made by an arbitrator to denying unions the ability to negotiate their health insurance or retirement plans. Restrictions or limitations on outsourcing would be lifted, and unions would no longer have any say regarding layoffs. The bill also allows employees to become “free agents,” who can negotiate their terms of employment directly with employers even if they are in a union shop.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) said Thursday: “Make no mistake, it repeals collective bargaining rights, plain and simple. And that’s all it seeks to do.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the paper that his Democratic members wouldn’t be fleeing, however, so we can breathe at least a small sigh of relief.

* But the problems persist in Wisconsin

Democratic state Sen. Robert Jauch, a longtime Wisconsin lawmaker, said Thursday that despite rumors that some of his colleagues had returned to the state, “everybody is outside of Wisconsin . . . all of us.”

Jauch criticized what he called the “police state mentality” of Republicans in the Capitol and took issue with Walker’s assertions that Democrats who had fled the state were abandoning their duties.

“I’m doing more from the Land of Lincoln to communicate with citizens in my district than he is,” Jauch said, adding that the Senate Democrats talk regularly and are “trying to reach out through back channels to see what the solution could be. This governor has dug himself in - that’s very clear.”

* And Wisconsin Democrats have changed tactics on their meeting places to avoid protests like the ones in Urbana

A week after leaving their home state, at least five Wisconsin state senators met Thursday in a private residence in Woodstock. […]

Several senators had met Monday and Tuesday in a Harvard hotel conference room, but said the have not returned to that hotel since a group of local tea party protesters showed up at the hotel. It is unknown when the group began meeting at the Woodstock residence, but neighbors said they had seen large groups of cars with Wisconsin license plates showing up to the home for three days.

* Also, a rally has been called for tomorrow at noon in Chicago. From a press release…

Across the country, tens of thousands of people are gathering on Saturday to show their solidarity with Wisconsin and Indiana public employees. Hundreds of people will gather in Chicago to demand an end to the assault on organized labor. In Chicago and across the country, union and non union residents have come together to stand up to the corporate greed and conservative ideology that is trying to strip away protections for all workers in America.

The Thompson Center rally is sponsored by Moveon.org, Citizen Action/Illinois and AFSCME Council 31.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - shore - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    the tongue in cheek list of things to do was my suggestion yesterday for today’s question of the day.


  2. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:21 am:

    I guess I’ll be at the Thompson center at noon.


  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:22 am:

    shore, I may do that one on Monday.


  4. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:29 am:

    A rally on Saturday? Would be fun to watch but not worth the trip


  5. - Robert - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    What’s the end game for our Dem legislator guests? Are they going to hideout forever?

    Wisconsin and Indiana Dems have made their point. They’ve shed light on how extreme some of the Republican Governors’ proposals are. Now they should go back to their states, ask the Republicans to bend on some amendments, and then vote whether the republicans bend or not.

    If republicans won control of the legislatures, then they get to pass their laws. Republicans definitely are risking going too far and getting voted out of office next time.


  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    I took Tryon’s bill as a joke and thought it was pretty funny. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of silly bills introduced, with all seriousness, every year.

    But what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t funny and makes hardball Illinois politics look like Romper Room.

    –Yesterday…”Frustrated by the delay, Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, (Assembly Speaker) Jeff Fitzgerald’s brother, ordered state troopers to find the missing Democrats, but they came up empty. Wisconsin law doesn’t allow police to arrest the lawmakers, but Fitzgerald said he hoped the show of authority would have pressured them to return.–

    So small government Senate GOPers are “ordering” state troopers (not the Senate Sgt.-at-Arms, but agents of the executive branch) to “pressure” opposition lawmakers.

    By the way, the head of the Wisconsin state patrol is the Fitzgerald boys’ daddy, a former Chicago copper.

    Since Walker famously declared Wisconsin is “Open for Business” it’s obvious he clearly meant turning the Dairy State into the headquarters of “Banana Republic.”


  7. - 10th Voter - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:37 am:

    “he’d introduce legislation to require those fleeing Wisconsin and Indiana Democratic state lawmakers to pay income taxes to Illinois while they’re here”

    I often work while in another state…if this was a law, I would have a lot of tax forms to fill out every year…and which state would I pay for the work I do while in flight over multiple states? What a joke.


  8. - PublicServant - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:41 am:

    I wonder if all these Tea Party demonstrators are calling in sick?


  9. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:54 am:

    Union member. Work steps from the Thompson Center. MY union would rather bus members to Madison, apparently, than take part in the rally at home.

    I’m not going to either…I’m ‘fleeing’ to Missouri this weekend!


  10. - amalia - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:56 am:

    some national Dems who are smart about fighting this union busting nonsense should be using this time to get the fleeing pols together with other minds. Work on Wisc. and Ind. and for Ohio and elsewhere that the Christies and Walkers of the world want to bust up for unions. the President will not lead this fight. you have to get together without notice in a suburban hotel or a busy large chicago hotel, get a small meeting room, and make some plans.

    if a few people with facebook and Twitter can work back and forth between two countries and take down a dictator, use the
    brains and cell phones of these fleeing legislators and try to
    solve the problem in the U.S. for union dems.


  11. - ah Ha - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 11:58 am:

    If the bill is passed and signed during the current contract, isn’t that Breach of Contract? Could the Union come back and sue??

    I wonder why no one has brought up this point?

    thanks!


  12. - lovecapitolfax - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:00 pm:

    i’m going to the rally. its important to show these politicians who were elected out of anger at the current country conditions that we already have buyers remorse and we are all watching.


  13. - Champaign Dweller - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:02 pm:

    Well, I guess our local economy can use the out-of-state dollars, but I wonder how many times the Wisconsin and Indiana dems will use this tactic–every time some bill comes up that they think is important and they might lose? If that’s the case, we may have to start providing escorts for out-of-state legislators, or maybe free tolls or something.


  14. - Secret Square - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:03 pm:

    I had read that there were going to be pro-labor rallies in “all 50 state capitals” at noon Saturday. Did the organizers of the Thompson Center rally forget where our capital is, or is there also supposed to be one in the Patch?


  15. - PublicServant - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:04 pm:

    Frequent Flee-er miles maybe?


  16. - Secret Square - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:10 pm:

    Just answered my own question — there WILL also be a rally in Springfield. See the IEA website for more details. (This is just for everyone’s information and should not be construed as an endorsement on my part.)


  17. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:11 pm:

    –but I wonder how many times the Wisconsin and Indiana dems will use this tactic–

    How many times do you recall it being used before?


  18. - Bluejay - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:21 pm:

    @10th Voter - its not a joke. I worked as a consultant for many years and traveled to various cities within the US. I always had to report my time according to where I was working that day, states I was working in withheld taxes, and I had to file multiple state tax returns each year. (One big name firm got sued a number of years ago for misreporting where staff were working and had to pay a big penalty). Taxing income earned by out-of-state workers who are performing work in state is nothing new.


  19. - david starrett - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:25 pm:

    ah Ha, I’ve been considering a similar end-game scenario:

    If Quinn were to unilaterally lay-off AFSCME workers without prior negotiation, the courts would invalidate the layoffs as a breach of contract. If Wisconsin has a similar provision (or if Civil Service law covers it) forcing the threatened layoffs and having them invalidated by the courts may be the only way to force Walker to the table. It would mean additional sacrifice for the 1,500 or so that Walker has in his sights, but it might get the job done.


  20. - Anon - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:27 pm:

    You are supposed to pay the State’s income tax where you performed the work. However, Illinois has agreements with some surrounding states to disregard this requirement. Wisconsin being one of them. So if you live in Illinois and work in Missouri, you pay Missouri income taxes, and get a credit for you Illinois taxes. But for Wisconsin, you just pay the income tax based on your residency. So I am not sure how this bill would work with that agreement.


  21. - D.P. Gumby - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:36 pm:

    Given a political climate where T-baggers and Birthers are considered “rational” by one major party and even have their own cable news network, this action by Democratic Legislators seems perfectly reasonable. And rallies to support them are natural. I doubt that attendees will be carrying guns or questioning the nationality or religion of the other party members or saying they should be deported and denied citizenship. Rather, they will be based upon policy arguments and the disingenuousness of the opposing positions.


  22. - just sayin' - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:39 pm:

    I assume the Tea Parties will demonstrate outside of Tryon’s office now that’s he’s joined the ranks of the tax raisers.

    Stop trying to raise taxes Mike! What’s next, slap a tax on people who come here for conventions and conferences? How is that different? A company retreat from out of state would get taxed? I would assume so.

    Why is Mike Tryon trying to further destroy the Illinois economy?


  23. - Fed up - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    Just sayin.
    As usual u are wrong the tax on Wisconsin lawmakers isn’t new or a raised tax he is simply trying to have them pay tax where they are working. If the rolling stones play a concert at soldiers field they pay Illinois tax. And for the Wisconsin lawmakers it would be a win Illinois taxs are lower than wisconsins. But it wa done as a joke like many bills with no chance at passing each year. Hopefully Wisconsin is able to reach a compromise that doesn’t destroy the unions.


  24. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:08 pm:

    Fed up - Relax brother, I’m pretty sure js was joking.


  25. - listening in - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 2:54 pm:

    Hey Rich, did you miss that Rep. Tryon’s first ‘good bill’ (HB 1) seems to be Illinois’ version of the Koch brothers conspiracy to break unions? (prohibiting union contributions to any declared candidate). If this is a 50-state strategy, Tryon seems to be the standard-bearer in lllinois. I think Tryon is an ok guy but entirely focused on Republican power like all the national R’s


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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