* Let’s look at two dueling press releases about the bill’s passage (it now goes to the governor). The first is from Sen. Sam McCann’s GOP primary opponent Bryce Benton…
Moments ago, State Senator Sam McCann again voted to force a massive tax hike on working families. McCann voted in favor of HB580, a reincarnation of SB1229. HB580 is a political piece of legislation that removes Governor Rauner from the bargaining table with unions that contract with the State of Illinois and puts in place an unelected, unaccountable arbitrator. In a purely political maneuver, the legislation only lasts for the duration of Governor Rauner’s term.
Some estimates have the cost to taxpayers of HB580 at $3.5 billion over the next four years. In typical fashion of Democrats in the General Assembly, the bill did not provide any revenue to pay for the bill, and yet Sam McCann still joined the ranks of Mike Madigan’s Democrat and special interest allies to force the $3.5 billion tax hike.
McCann didn’t arrive at this decision on his own. Since 2015, McCann has received nearly $570,000 in campaign cash from Mike Madigan’s union allies who want to continue the status quo of insider deals and special interest politics. McCann’s Big Labor handlers control his votes, plain and simple. Taxpayers in the 50th Senate district no longer have a voice in the Senate.
“Sam McCann likes to say he has never voted for a tax hike, but when you vote for legislation that increases spending by over $3.5 billion without providing a way to pay for it, you’re forcing a tax hike on working families,” said Aaron DeGroot, spokesman for Bryce Benton. “A conservative Republican wouldn’t break ranks with his party to join forces with Speaker Madigan to force a tax hike. If we needed further proof that Sam McCann is Mike Madigan’s favorite senator, there it is.”
* The second is from Sen. Sam McCann…
Today, for the second time, I voted in support of legislation that does nothing more than provide an alternate means to resolve the various contract disputes between the Governor and state workers so that vital services will not be disrupted and further conflict can be avoided.
Last August when this was previously before the Senate, talks between the Governor and state workers were ongoing. Since then, the Governor’s bargaining team has made the unprecedented move of walking away from negotiations with the largest group of state workers. The threat of a strike or lockout has never been greater. Investigations of child abuse, care for aging veterans, care for senior citizens, access to our state parks, issuing of hunting, fishing and firearm permits are just a few of the vital services that would be in jeopardy should a work stoppage occur.
In addition to the loss of vital services, a state employee strike or lockout would decimate local economies in the 50th Senate District. State workers are members of our communities. They are our neighbors, our friends and our family. Without stable employment, state workers will be unable to spend money in our communities. HB 580 is an insurance policy to ensure that small businesses and our communities continue to strengthen and grow.
Claims that this legislation will lead to tax increases are absurd and unfounded. To be clear, HB 580, like SB 1229 before it, does not amend the tax code or alter Illinois income tax rates in any way. Nor does this bill appropriate or spend a single cent of state money. Simply put, the legislation provides for a neutral third party to settle contract disputes when the parties are unable to reach an agreement avoiding the hardship, disruption and conflict that a strike or lockout can cause. One of the many things that an independent arbitrator, by law, must take into consideration is the State’s fiscal health.
This is the same process used for decades by local police and fire fighters as well as state correctional officers and state troopers.
As a state senator, I believe it is my job to set politics aside and focus on solving the problems facing our state. The last thing that our state needs is yet another crisis to overcome.