Language finally emerged on the Senate’s grand-bargain proposal during the final few days of the 99th General Assembly. This was the product of ongoing negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans that could potentially provide a framework to end the current budget impasse.
However, after deliberation among members of both sides of the aisle, the Senate Democrat and Republican caucuses decided to not call the package of legislation during the lame duck session. Instead, Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno held a joint press conference (first time since the impeachment proceedings of ex-governor Rod Blagojevich) signaling their intent to re-file the package of bills on Wednesday after the swearing in of the 100th General Assembly.
On Wednesday, the package of bills (SB 1 – 13) were refiled and were assigned to their respective committees. The package of bills includes several measures including education funding reform, an increase in the minimum wage, local government consolidation, $7 billion in borrowed money to help pay back the state’s bill backlog, Chicago teacher pension relief, gaming expansion, procurement reform, increased revenues, pension reform, workers’ compensation reform, a property tax freeze, and appropriations for the remaining FY 17 budget.
While the Illinois Chamber is encouraged with the newfound aspiration of bi-partisanship coming out of the Senate, several key components included in the Senate’s package of thirteen bills are troubling. Most notably SB 9 (Hutchinson). The bill does contain a few positive measures such as restoring the research and development credit and the elimination of the corporate franchise tax. However, the bad outweigh the good. SB 9 would impose a $.01 per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, increase the individual and corporate income tax rate, eliminate the foreign and domestic dividend subtraction, decouple from the federal Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD), and eliminate the unitary business non-combination rule. The Chamber is opposed to the current version of SB 9 and will continue to express our concerns it would have on the business community.
Members of the Illinois Chamber know all too well that we have been tireless advocates to bring real change to our state’s workers’ compensation system. The Illinois Chamber is glad to see help for employers in the workers’ compensation proposal (SB 12), however several provisions need additional work.
One of the major factors of the proposed package of bills, is that all thirteen bills must pass in order for all of the other bills to take effect.
Several bills included in the package are hundreds of pages long and are very complex. To view our one-page document providing an abstract rundown of each bill, click here.
The Chamber is currently reviewing and analyzing positions for each of the thirteen bills and will release a position paper on the merits of pertinent legislation included in the package within the next week.