* Press release…
Think Big Illinois Executive Director Quentin Fulks released the following statement after the House Republicans’ press conference where they continued to advocate for preventing Illinois voters from having a say on the fair tax:
“As the fair tax amendment inches closer to passage, Republicans in Springfield are growing increasingly desperate to stop it and make sure Illinoisans don’t have the chance to have a say on the fair tax on the ballot in November 2020. It’s not often that voters have the opportunity to have a direct say on the policies impacting them and their families, and Republicans in Springfield are trying to deny them of that opportunity.
“We hope legislators will do what’s right, and give Illinoisans the chance to decide on the ballot whether they want a tax system that works for everyone, or just the wealthy few.”
* From the other day…
Illinois House Republican leadership will brief their members Monday on a balanced budget proposal which they say the governor’s office won’t listen to, according to an internal caucus memo obtained by Capitol News Illinois on Friday.
“While Governor Pritzker has been occupied hosting cocktail parties, the House Republican Caucus budget team has been working diligently to ensure we are on sound footing offering a budget plan that doesn’t rely on additional tax increases on Illinois families and small businesses,” Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer, of Dixon, said in the memo. […]
Meanwhile, spokespersons for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said the Senate leaders met twice this week to discuss the FY 2020 budget.
* From earlier this month…
But beyond that, Brady said things are moving to an end-of-May conclusion.
“We’re hopeful that we can work on a collective gaming entertainment bill, sports betting, that could provide capital resources for vertical (building projects). We’re still hoping that the details can be worked out that the infrastructure investment is equitable around the state,” Brady said.
He said a recent upward bump in state revenue causes concern about how the state budget “is going to be laid out.” But he said the governor is “very accessible,” and they talk “frequently.”
* My most recent newspaper column…
The measure was not gaining a lot of traction and then proponents asked the construction unions to chat. The unions listened and suggested some changes to make the bill more labor friendly.
The unions recommended an amendment containing “responsible bidder” requirements, which assure that the contractors meet certain levels of qualifications (and that usually means unionized workers). The provision was added, as were Project Labor Agreements, which require building contractors to enter into labor agreements before commencing work. An income tax credit was also added for projects in areas hit hard by poverty and unemployment.
All of a sudden, the bill took off. Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, who has been looking for union support ever since anti-union Gov. Bruce Rauner was defeated, even signed on as a co-sponsor. The bill sailed out of the Senate on a unanimous roll call.
* From Friday…
“Members of my caucus, who were part of the capital working group, received a briefing on the governor’s proposal this afternoon,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady. R-Bloomington. “We look forward to these discussions continuing as we work toward a plan that addresses our state’s critical infrastructure needs and creates jobs.”