Matt Paprocki Senior Director of Government Affairs
Jane McEnaney Policy Outreach Manager
There was very little legislative activity during the past two weeks of veto session in Springfield. However, several bills have been further positioned to move during special session in January, when lame duck legislators will retain voting power, even though they were voted out of office in November.
The following is a recap of the legislation that the Institute has been monitoring the past two weeks:
SB 3442 – Senate fails to override the governor’s plastic bag veto. During the first week of veto session, state Sen. Terry Link, D-Lincolnshire, filed a motion to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act, but the motion failed and the Senate voted 24-23-2 to uphold the governor’s veto. This is a win for the Institute that we attribute in part to our vocal opposition to this onerous legislation.
HB 6240 – Expansion of $4 billion in bonding to pay unpaid bills stalled in committee. This bill would authorize the state of Illinois to borrow an additional $4 billion to pay down its unpaid bills. This bill was scheduled to be heard by the House Executive Committee Tuesday and the Institute was scheduled to testify in opposition, but the bill was not heard.
SB 0282 – Corporate tax disclosure bill remains in the House. This bill passed the Senate 30-27 last week and was referred to the House Rules Committee, where it currently remains. The Institute will continue to oppose this burdensome regulation.
HB 6253 – Implementation of ObamaCare’s voluntary expansion of Medicaid positioned to move in special session. The Institute is strongly opposed to this bill, as it will hurt the state’s taxpayers and most vulnerable residents. Today, this bill moved out of the House Rules Committee to the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee, positioning the bill to move during special session in January.
HB 5440 – Satellite tax stalled on House floor. HB 5440 creates the Direct Broadcast Satellite Service Providers Fee Act and imposes a fee on direct broadcast satellite service at the rate of 5 percent of the provider's gross revenue; the Institute is opposed to this tax increase. This bill was scheduled to be heard on the House floor this week, where it currently remains stalled.
Additionally, last week the Senate voted to reject Quinn’s proposed budget cuts that have resulted in the closure of some prisons and other state facilities. Wednesday, the House chose not to call an override vote on the governor’s proposed cuts, which Quinn called “a victory for the taxpayers of Illinois.” The problem is that Quinn has stated his intentions to appropriate this money for other government services. Illinois’ stack of nearly $9 billion in unpaid bills and more than $209 billion in unfunded pension liabilities necessitates that we cut spending to shrink our bloated budget; The Institute agrees that such cuts are necessary. However, this money should not be reappropriated to other government programs that we cannot afford.
Members of the Illinois House also unveiled a new pension reform proposal in a press conference Wednesday morning. The Institute attended this conference and has released a statement on the proposal, which reads:
“We commend these members for putting a proposal on the table, and look forward to reviewing the plan in more detail when it is filed as legislation. However, information about the proposal that currently is available indicates it would fail to end the crisis and bring Illinois' pension systems back to solvency.”
Key issues that we expect to be brought up during January’s special session, before the newly elected lawmakers are inaugurated on Jan. 9, 2013, include: pension reform, a minimum wage increase, making the income tax increase permanent, and an expansion of gaming.
The Institute’s Government Affairs team and policy experts will be down in Springfield in January to oppose any bills that impose new or higher taxes, inflict regulations on entrepreneurs and business owners, or propose pension reform that does not go far enough to fix our state’s fiscal crisis. We will continue to go on the record and share our positions on public policy with members of the General Assembly, testifying before committees, serving as a resource for legislators and their staffs and championing economic freedom in Illinois.