From State Rep. Steve Reick:
2020 Legislative Update
Spring 2020 session, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your voice in Springfield and take a moment to give you a brief update about legislative news that I feel is important heading into this legislative year.
If you have any questions about any issues in the newsletter please contact my district office by phone at (815) 880-5340 or via the contact form on my website at http://www.ilhousegop.org/contactreick.
Democrats Fail Again to Deliver on Property Tax Reform.
Illinoisans pay the second highest property taxes in the nation, yet the Property Tax Relief Task Force report written by Democratic lawmakers ignores dozens of reform ideas offered by Republicans.
The need for meaningful, substantive property tax relief in Illinois is critical, and the issue deserves serious and meaningful deliberation. Unfortunately, the task force created through SB 1932 is just one more example of a Democrat-created blue ribbon commission that failed.
Illinois’ population again declined during the previous year. New outmigration data show that more than 56,000 Illinoisans left the state in 2019 alone. Over the last decade, more people moved out of Illinois than any other state. Rising property taxes is a primary culprit for these alarming outmigration statistics.
Previous task forces on property taxes were convened in 1982, 1996, 1998 and 2009 and all failed to produce results. The 2019 task force is simply repeating history. This is why I chose not to take part in the Task Force. The people of Illinois deserve better.
A Joint Committee hearing on “Seclusion Rooms.”
The outcry against misuse of “seclusion rooms” by schools across Illinois continued as the legislators meant to discuss possible legislative solutions.
Many school districts used “seclusion rooms” and “isolation rooms” as places where students whom an educator believes to be disruptive can be sent for time-outs. News reports suggest that some schools are misusing seclusion rooms, or using them in the wrong circumstances and on the wrong students. Some students have behavioral or emotional problems that make isolation and seclusion a cruel punishment to inflict upon them. Many parents want to believe that their schools know what they are doing when they punish a schoolchild in this way, but an investigation has found that there are very few cases where a school examines and diagnoses a student’s psychological state before sending the child to an isolation room. Worse, in some cases the school should know that this act is inappropriate – and they do it anyway.
Following publication of this investigative report, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issued emergency rules to ban the isolation of a student in a locked quiet room. Based on the new rules, students who are assigned to “time outs” will be monitored rather than isolated. The seclusion-room news reports are based on an investigative report by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. The new ISBE rules will require that any student being given a “time out” must be monitored rather than isolated.
IDOR Reminds Illinois Businesses of Minimum Wage Tax Credit Available This Year.
Small Businesses Can Offset Up to 25 Percent of Wage Increase on Withholding Taxes.
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is reminding small businesses they can utilize the Minimum Wage Credit starting January 1, 2020. The new tax credit is designed to help small businesses offset the state’s minimum wage rate that will gradually increase to $15 an hour over the next six years. Businesses can claim now the credit on their quarterly Illinois Withholding Income Tax Returns.
Beginning this year, businesses and nonprofits with 50 full-time equivalent employees or less are eligible to offset a portion of the minimum wage increase cost from their withholding income taxes. The maximum credit amount allowed is 25 percent of the difference between the new minimum wage and what each employee was paid previously. The percentage allowed each proceeding year will decrease before sunsetting in 2026 for most small businesses. Eligible businesses can claim this credit by filing Form IL-941, Illinois Withholding Income Tax Return, and a new schedule.
Visit IDOR’s website tax.illinois.gov for information on how to calculate this credit, as well as additional resources, including IDOR’s withholding income tax Information Bulletin FY2020-13 and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). You can also get more information by clicking the following link: IDOR Reminds Illinois Businesses of Minimum Wage Tax Credit Available This Year.
Clarification on Gun Ownership and Recreational Marijuana Use.
Over the holidays, some disinformation/misinformation appeared on social media. The Illinois State Rifle Association in an attempt to correct that misinformation that surfaced in news reports and on social media pages after the change in law occurred on Jan. 1 allowing recreational use of cannabis for adults over 21 released the following clarifications:
- If you buy cannabis for recreational use, you will not be put into a database that prevents you from owning a firearm because no such database can be created by state law.
- If you intend to use cannabis and own a firearm, taking the recreational cannabis route has less potential, detrimental effects on your 2nd Amendment rights than the medical cannabis route.
- No cannabis dispensary can share your personal information, unless you authorize them, to anyone or any entity. This includes the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).
- The Illinois State Rifle Association has confirmed that the Illinois State Police will “not revoke Firearm Owners’ Identification cards based solely on a person’s legal use of adult-use cannabis.”
- The new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act in Illinois specifically states in law that a person who uses recreational cannabis is NOT an “unlawful user” of a controlled substance.
Rep. Steve Reick calls for “deep dive” audit of State spending.
The proposal would create a new Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Act. Under this Act, a bipartisan 18-member commission would look into the current operations of State government and propose comprehensive changes intended to increase performance and efficiency. The new Commission would submit a report no later than October 1, 2021.
The bill is a response to a claim by the majority party that “the State is running out of money” and “we urgently need to amend the State Constitution” to make future tax increases much easier to enact and pass into law. An alternate way to help the State live within its means is to take a hard look at the productivity of its operations. On the federal level, President Ronald Reagan’s Grace Commission (active in 1982 and 1983) made many proposals to reduce waste and inefficiency in Washington. The Illinois Commission on Fiscal Responsibility would attempt to achieve similar goals in Springfield. The bill to create the Commission is HB 4024, filed on Monday, January 6.
Roundtable on Career and Technical Secondary Education Programs. On Friday, I sponsored a roundtable meeting at the Woodstock Public Library in conjunction with the Illinois Career and Technical (Education) Administrators Association (ICTA) and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) to discuss developing a local program that provides a pipeline for high school students to local trades in McHenry County.
The biggest concern that manufacturers share with me when I visit them is their need for talented employees who possess the necessary skills to work in today’s high-tech manufacturing environment. There are not enough applicants for their openings. This meeting was meant to discuss ways to close the skills gap and provide employers with well-qualified employees. Manufacturing looks different today than it did twenty years ago. We need innovative policies to create a talent pipeline to connect high school students, our future workforce, with employers who can introduce them to high paying careers in industry.”
One long-term goal of Friday’s roundtable is to develop a comprehensive program in McHenry County to bring together local employers and schools to create an initiative that connects students with future career opportunities.
Happy New Year. I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this update. Please do not hesitate to contact my district office if I, or a member of my staff, may be of assistance to you. You can reach us by phone at (815) 880-5340 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.