*** UPDATE *** AP…
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Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he doesn’t agree with proposals in Illinois to impose term limits on elected officials.
Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner is pushing a voter initiative to limit state lawmakers. This week, the Republican leaders of the Illinois House and Senate backed an amendment to the state’s constitution that’ll limit statewide officers to two terms. The officers include the governor and comptroller.
* From a press release…
The Illinois Republican Party National Committeeman today called on Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to approve a Republican proposal to impose term limits on constitutional office holders and reject a Democrat proposal to impose a progressive income tax on Illinois families.
With both legislative proposals moving through the General Assembly this week, the choice before Illinois Democrats is historic and their decisions will send a clear message about their values and priorities.
“The people of Illinois want term limits and they want lower taxes,” said Illinois Republican National Committeeman Richard Porter. “Pat Quinn, Michael Madigan and John Cullerton have a choice: Do they support more job-killing tax hikes, or do they want to restore Illinois to economic prosperity? The people of Illinois are watching and they will hold Democrats accountable for their choices in November.”
Last week, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow Illinois voters to approve term limits on constitutional office holders this November. At the same time, Senate Democrats are expected to consider today a progressive income tax hike for Illinois.
This term limits thing appears to be little more than a game. The GOP introduced it this month and Bruce Rauner promptly jumped on board. There are enough calendar days to get the constitutional amendment onto the ballot, but the House would have to add at least one and maybe more session days to accommodate the proposal.
Not to mention that the GOP’s most popular incumbent is Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who has held statewide office for 16 years. Before that, she served 14 years in the General Assembly.
Topinka has called legislative term limits a “stupid” idea. I’m more of an agnostic, but you gotta wonder why the state party would essentially be saying that JBT shouldn’t run for another term.
* You can always count on somebody around here to gin up an empty, last-second and hopeless political battle. Speaker Madigan’s spokesman said yesterday that he seriously doubted the House would schedule any additional session days if the Senate passed this proposal.
* And as far as the other issue goes, I’m with Doubek on this one…
Word is state Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, is planning to seek a vote Tuesday on his proposal to ask voters if they want to change the state constitution to move from a flat to a graduated income tax system, where people pay higher tax rates as their incomes rise. People who make more already pay more, of course, because 5 percent of $200,000 is more than 5 percent of $20,000. Harmon has a separate bill to set rates at three levels. The first $12,500 would be taxed at 2.9 percent, income above that up to $180,000 would be taxed at 4.9 percent, and income greater than $180,000 would be taxed at 6.9 percent. That sounds to me like most of us working Illinoisans would be paying more than the 3.75 percent the law provides for next year. […]
Every House Democrat would have to vote for Harmon’s amendment this week to get it on the ballot. At least one, state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, has vowed to oppose it.
So, I suspect the veteran statehouse observers at the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce had it right when they suggested to their members that it would be politically unwise for Harmon to pursue a vote on a progressive tax plan sure to fail in the House. Why would Senate Democrats want to go on record for what amounts to a tax increase that won’t ultimately pass?
Unless Harmon has a secret grand plan to get three-fifths in both chambers, he’s gonna be stringing out a whole lot of colleagues if he calls his proposal for a floor vote today.
* As always, keep a close eye on our live session coverage post for updates to these stories and more.