* That’s right, narrow the property tax base even further. Great idea…
Democratic state Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines said the cost of owning a home in her suburban district is getting too pricey for older people.
“It’s a very common concern of seniors anxious about how they’re gonna remain in their homes,” she said.
She wants more seniors to be able to claim a homestead exemption on their property taxes — raising the maximum annual income from $65,000 to $75,000. Another proposal would allow seniors in downstate communities to cut their tax by $7,000, up from the current $5,000.
But Carol Portman, president of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois, calls that problematic.
“By reducing the taxes of those folks a little bit, then you’re raising it for the next door neighbors and the people across the street. Where you draw the line of who gets the benefit and who has to pay the taxes for them, it gets really tough to draw.”
Portman is right. Let’s jack up everyone else’s taxes to give one group of people a break.
* Press release…
Parents who choose to send their children to K-12 private or parochial schools in Illinois may soon be able to use their Illinois Bright Start program funds to help offset those costs rather than only using those funds for college, due to a new bill filed today by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard).
The new Republican federal tax law clears the way for states to allow residents to use 529 plan accounts for K-12 education expenses, in addition to their current allowed use for college expenses. In Illinois, the 529 plan (Bright Start) specifically only allows funds to be used for higher education or post-secondary training.
“Today’s Bright Start Program does not provide for the recent changes in federal tax law that allow families to use their 529 plan account for K-12 educational expenses,” said Breen. “My bill expands the Illinois Bright Start Program’s definition of ‘qualifying expenses’ so that families may enjoy the full tax benefits newly available through the Republican federal tax law. Expanding the use of these tax-free funds will be help hard-working Illinois families save for their kids’ education.”
Breen’s legislation also provides for a rollover of 529 plan funds into an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account for an individual living with a significant disability. Whereas 529 plans may only be used for education, ABLE accounts may also be used for housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services and health care expenses. “These types of accounts really help folks living with disabilities to maintain their independence and quality of life,” Breen said. “Individuals with disabilities and their families often rely on public benefits for income, health care, housing and other assistance, and eligibility is largely based on meeting an income threshold. ABLE accounts allow families to create a long-term plan with defined tax benefits for covering the significant costs associated to living with a disability.”
Breen hopes to garner wide bipartisan support for his bill and is pressing for its immediate consideration in the appropriate House committee in the coming weeks.
* I don’t think this is even a bill yet…
An effort is underway in Illinois that would let the terminally ill choose to end their life.
Oregon approved the option back in the mid 90’s. A few more states and Canada have followed with similar laws. They allow a terminally ill and mentally sound individual to choose to end their life.
“We all die and unfortunately as we approach death, as we get sicker and sicker, often a lot of pain and suffering comes with it. And when death is imminent, when suffering is intolerable, it should be your choice,” said Ed Gogol of Final Options Illinois. […]
Gogol wants an Illinois law that would have the patient being prescribed medication they would self-administer. It’s not “physician-assisted suicide” or “euthanasia” because the doctor would only make sure the person qualified.
Gogol calls it compassion. “The ability to say, when suffering has truly gotten intolerable, that I don’t want to go through these final agonies. I am approaching death anyway. That should be a human right.”