Illinoisans will receive income-tax relief in 2015

Illinoisans will receive income-tax relief in 2015

With a lame-duck session dead in the water, the 2011 income-tax hikes will sunset on schedule; a minimum-wage debate will wait until Rauner takes office; and taxpayers will not be on the hook for a state-funded health insurance exchange.

The Illinois House of Representatives adjourned sine die, or “without day,” on Dec. 3. This means the next day of legislative session will not take place until Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has been sworn in as the next leader of the state of Illinois.

The adjournment has eliminated the potential of a lame-duck session taking place before newly elected legislators are sworn into office on Jan. 14.

In a lame-duck session, lawmakers who are either retiring or were not re-elected to office are still tasked with serving their constituents, but because they’re on their way out, are not necessarily held accountable for their actions. In fact, the 2011 income-tax hikes that were pushed through the General Assembly in the 11th hour, hiking taxes on Illinois families by a historic 67 percent, were passed during a lame-duck session.

The most exciting result of the House’s adjournment is official confirmation that the 2011 income-tax hikes will sunset; meaning Illinoisans will see income-tax rates drop to 3.75 percent from 5 percent, as scheduled. This is a massive victory for the state’s middle class. Come Jan. 1, the average Illinois family will take home an extra $1,075 each year as a result of the sunset.

Another adjournment win is the defeat of some state lawmakers’ attempts to establish a state-funded health insurance exchange, a major – failed – component of ObamaCare. The federal deadline to establish an exchange is Dec. 31, meaning Illinois will not be signing itself up for another fiscal black eye anytime soon.

As if that wasn’t enough good news, another issue that is dead for at least the remainder of 2014 as a result of the adjournment is a statewide minimum-wage hike. Even though the Senate passed a minimum wage hike bill on the evening of Dec. 3, it is very unlikely that the House will resume legislative business on this matter before Rauner takes office.

As the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board noted earlier this week, an increase in Illinois’ minimum wage would give employers one more reason to avoid – or flee – Illinois. While this hot-button issue is expected to return in 2015, this is a significant victory for the certainty of Illinois’ business climate, and for those seeking employment opportunities allowing for upward economic mobility.

This holiday season, the death of the lame-duck session is nothing short of a gift to taxpayers. There’s no better way to ring in the new year than by putting millions of dollars back into the pockets of Illinois families.

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