Senate Week in Review: January 2 – 6, 2017
Lawmakers return to Springfield January 9 with two days to conclude the work of the 99th General Assembly prior to the new 100th General Assembly being sworn-in on January 11. Though it’s unknown what issues may come up during the early week “lame duck” session, Senate Republicans reaffirm that their top priority is passage of a full-year balanced budget containing the reforms needed to grow the state’s economy and alleviate the property tax burden on homeowners, all of which will help put Illinois on the path toward financial stability.
New year demands action on budget
With the expiration of the stopgap budget at the turn of the year, Senate Republican lawmakers say swift and decisive action is needed to ensure those who rely on state assistance continue to receive the funding they need to function.
Budget talks have been ongoing over the last several months, as legislative leaders and the Governor continued to try and find common ground on a budget plan and good government reforms to create jobs, encourage greater economic investment in Illinois and re-establish fiscal solvency and stability in the state. However, Republican leaders and the Governor have said that they will not agree to a plan that simply maintains the status quo. Instead, they emphasized the people of Illinois deserve a balanced budget accompanied by the structural changes necessary to address the state’s significant financial challenges.
Action on a fiscal package could be taken next week when the General Assembly returns to Springfield for what many call a “lame duck” session—a legislative session convened following the November election, but prior to the seating of newly elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
In the past, controversial legislation has been pushed through the General Assembly during this short period of time when outgoing lawmakers, who are no longer accountable to the voters, are recruited to vote on particularly sensitive issues.
At this time it’s uncertain what legislation will come before the Legislature on Monday and Tuesday. However, Senate GOP legislators say the focus should remain on the most pressing issue at hand—a state budget resolution.
Bipartisan legislation to save EDGE tax credits for Illinois employers
Expiration of the state’s EDGE tax credit at the end of last year has many lawmakers and employers calling for swift action to reinstate the program, which has created 34,000 jobs and retained an additional 46,000 in Illinois since the program was created in 1999.
Bipartisan legislation has been filed (SB 3459) to create the Transforming, Helping, and Reviving Illinois’ Versatile Economy (THRIVE) Job Creation Tax Credit Act, which would revive key components of, and improve upon, the state’s EDGE tax credit program.
Under the legislation, companies would receive credit for 50 percent of the Illinois withholding attributable to create jobs. The credit would offset the corporate income tax for that year.
Furthermore, companies must create 10 percent of the current global workforce or 50 new jobs, whichever is less. They must also have a capital investment of $2.5 million at the project location in the state unless the company employs less than 100 employees.
Proponents of the legislation stress that the state’s economy relies on its ability to create and maintain jobs. The incentives secured by the EDGE tax provides employers with a reason to stay in Illinois, which is particularly important at a time when jobs are leaving the state in record numbers, moving across state lines to Indiana and Wisconsin, or when Illinois is trying to attract national and global businesses seeking to lay down roots in the Midwest.