Tryon Tells of Last Week in Springfield

A press release from State Rep. Mike Tryon:

Fallen Heroes Honored in Springfield Ceremony

Yesterday in Springfield we paid tribute to the six Illinois soldiers who died in the line of duty since last Memorial Memorial Day. We honored:

  • Lance Cpl. James L. Baud, U.S. Marine Corps. Oblong, IL, May 27, 2013
  • Sgt. 1st Class Jerome W. Baker, U.S. Army, Riverdale, IL, September 13, 2013
  • Staff Sgt. Randall R. Lane, U.S. Army, Neoga, IL, September 13, 2013
  • Maj. Reid Nannen, U.S. Marine Corps, Hopedale, IL, March 1, 2014
  • Airman 1st Class Dominique L. Hudson, U.S. Air Force, Decatur, IL, March 5, 2014
  • Sgt. Timothy Owens, U.S. Army, Effingham, IL, April 2, 2014

Let us never forget the sacrifice these brave soldiers and their families made so that we can enjoy our freedoms.

Will Third Time Be a Charm for Fiscal Year 2015 Budget?

The state budget is blowing in the wind.

The state budget is blowing in the wind.

With only one week remaining until the General Assembly’s adjournment date of May 31, the Fiscal Year 2015 budget is still up for grabs.

After spending 11 ½ hours earlier this month approving 73 separate appropriation bills that counted on the temporary income tax of 2011 being extended (all House Republicans voted against the bills), House members voted down an alternative budget on Friday in a dramatic 5-107 vote.

I joined all members of the Republican caucus and most Democrats too, in voting against that alternative budget, because the 566-page document was delivered to lawmakers at 9:15pm Thursday night.

No one had time to read it or study it.

The alternative budget still exceeded the approved revenue estimate of $34.5 billion by $300 million, an in the end it was nothing more than a “doomsday” devise meant to further convince reluctant Democrats that the temporary tax of 2011 must be extended.

It does not appear that the strategy worked, because the Speaker announced yesterday that the bill to extend the temporary income tax is “dead.”

A new “middle of the road” budget will come before legislators as soon as today.

We are hearing that this third budget falls more in line with the revenue estimate approved by the General Assembly in February.

Stay tuned; it’s shaping up to be an exciting final week of session.

Voters May Have Opportunity to Weigh in on Hike in Minimum Wage

Illinois voters may have an opportunity on November 4 to weigh in on whether or not the minimum wage in Illinois should be increased to $10 per hour for those over the age of 18.

The House of Representatives advanced HB3814 this week in a 71-43 vote. The legislation now moves to the Senate, and if approved it will be put before voters as a non-binding referendum in the November 4th General Election.

Illinois already has the fourth highest minimum wage in the country, and every one of the states that neighbors Illinois has a lower minimum wage. This affects our competitive advantage. Raising our minimum wage to $10 per hour would shoot us to the top of that list. It would cause our job creators to hire fewer workers, lay off existing employees, or worse yet, move out of Illinois where the costs of doing business would be significantly less expensive.

Illinois’ current minimum wage is $8.25, which is $1.00 higher than Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin, and 75 cents higher than Missouri.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

While well-meaning, I believe this legislation would have an unintended negative consequence. At a time when Illinois unemployment still remains significantly higher than the national average, our top priority needs to be creating jobs and improving our business climate so that good paying jobs are available. I fear that hiking our minimum wage would have the opposite effect.

House and Senate Republicans Push Bill to Allow Voter Input on Extension of Temporary Tax

A group of House and Senate Republicans last week introduced legislation last Tuesday that would put on the November ballot, a statewide advisory referendum asking voters whether or not the five percent ‘temporary’ income tax increase should become permanent. I am a Chief Co-Sponsor of HB6237.

By the time the Democrats’ 2011 “temporary” income tax increase is set to expire in January 2015, it will have taken more than $31 billion from the pockets of working families and small businesses. This non-binding advisory referendum would allow us to poll the voters about how they feel about making the ‘temporary’ tax increase permanent. The increased taxes have cost the average family of four making around $50,000 about $1,000 annually. They have had to make sacrifices on necessities for their families. Before any vote is taken to extend or make the ‘temporary’ tax permanent, the voters should have their voices heard.

Madigan Millionaire Tax Resurrected as Non-Binding Referendum Question

On Friday, lawmakers in the House advanced HB3816, Madigan’s proposal, that would ask voters if they would support an extra 3% tax on Illinois wealthiest citizens. If approved by the Senate, the non-binding question would appear on the November 4th ballot. If enacted into law, the tax would put those earning $1 million or more into a tax bracket where they would pay 8% of their earnings per year in taxes.

I am opposed to this tax because I believe it would place an undue burden on Illinois’ job creators.

More than 80% of the jobs in Illinois come from small business owners, and rather than overtaxing them, a better alternative would be to focus on economic growth and job creation.

In a recent report, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) stated that with each 1% drop in unemployment, Illinois stands to gain $150 million in revenue in the form of additional citizens who start paying taxes and buying goods and services.

With a current unemployment rate of 7.9%, which is the second highest in the country and well above the national average, business-friendly policies that promote job creation should be our top priority.

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