Capitol Update 12-6-16

No Budget Agreement - Yet

Last Thursday was the General Assembly’s final scheduled day of our fall veto session, and I’m deeply disappointed that Speaker Madigan adjourned the House without addressing the urgent need for a budget for the rest of the fiscal year. As you know, our temporary budget expires at the end of the year, and as I write this the Speaker has not scheduled any additional session days before December 31st.

Families, businesses and vendors in our area are counting on us to get a balanced budget in place so that they can begin to get paid on time for services they provide to the state and our residents. The good news is that the leaders have agreed to continue meeting every day this week to arrive at common ground on ways to make our State’s finances sustainable. That’s reason to be hopeful that we could discuss final proposals yet this month. Our time is running short to get this done.

Proposals to curb spending on automatic payments to legislators stalls

In an effort to cut costs during our fiscal crisis, I filed three bills that would stop automatic payments to legislators.  These bills would stop automatic pay increases for legislators, eliminate per diem and mileage payments to legislators who live in Sangamon County (I don’t take these payments currently), and would make sure legislators are paid only for time worked.  Unfortunately, these bills were not even allowed to be heard in a committee this veto session.  I will continue to push to make these common sense proposals law in Illinois.

Illinois House approves Lame Duck Tax Increase constitutional amendment

Speaker Madigan has scheduled two “lame duck” session days in January for the 99th General Assembly before the new 100th General Assembly is sworn in on the 11th. To help prevent outgoing legislators from voting for a “lame duck” tax increase on their way out the door, the House last week approved a constitutional amendment that would increase the voting margin required to  increase an income tax rate or a sales tax rate during the so-called ‘lame duck” session.

The General Assembly, under current law, can enact “lame duck” tax hikes by simple majority in both houses.  If HJRCA 62 were to become law, the margin would increase to three-fifths – the same “supermajority” as is currently required to increase State general-obligation debt, approve amendments to the Constitution of Illinois, and approve amendments to the federal Constitution of the United States. The House approved the recommended change on a bi-partisan vote of 84-18-2.  The Senate has not yet taken action.

Student Advisory Group Tours the Capitol

My student advisory group returned to the Capitol for veto session and had a thoughtful discussion
about what is happening in their schools.  The students were also able to tour the Capitol building and met with the State Treasurer’s Staff as well. 

Toys for Tots location in Stratton Building

Rep. Tim Butler and I are hoping to collect lots of Toys for Tots this Christmas season in our Stratton Office, located in E-1 (first floor).  Please feel free to drop some toys off here so we can all help kids in our community have a very Merry Christmas.