From State Senator Karen McConnaughay:
End of Session Overtime
Read Senator McConnaughay’s post-adjournment statement.
This week, the Illinois Senate voted on a series of measures that comprised what became known as the “Grand Bargain,” a series of measures meant to provide Illinois with a balanced budget that cuts spending, accompanied by structural reforms that would create jobs and help stimulate our economy.
I readily supported several of these initiatives, such as pension and procurement reform, where bipartisan compromise had been reached. On other critical issues, such as workers’ compensation reform, education funding reform, local government consolidation and significant property tax relief, we reiterated the need to keep negotiating to ensure the best deal possible for taxpayers, students, and job creators.
Throughout this budget process, my colleagues and I negotiated in good-faith on legislation intended to bring parity to Illinois taxpayers. Homeowners in Illinois are already saddled with some of the highest property taxes in the nation.
I’ve always said that before we ask residents to pay more in income taxes, we must ensure accompanying property tax relief is passed.
However, beginning last week when my colleagues passed a partisan, permanent income tax hike of nearly 5 percent, it has become clear that the other side of the aisle had stepped away from the significant progress made during our good-faith negotiations.
Instead of reform that would provide homeowners and employers with real relief, two partisan bills advancing a weak, two-year property tax freeze were approved by the Senate.
It displayed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are still relying on the same, failed policies that got Illinois into the mess we’re in today.
Senator McConnaughay addresses the Sena
We cannot burden residents with a permanent, retroactive $5.4 billion tax increase. We have the highest property taxes in the entire country.
It’s one of the driving reasons why people leave the state of Illinois.
If we are going to pass a massive income tax hike, don’t we think the very least we can do for the people of Illinois is to give them more relief than what is being presented?
Homeowners and employers deserve that true relief.
I was also disappointed to see legislation advanced that amounted to little more than an unbelievable, unabashed money grab that would bailout the mismanaged Chicago Public School system at the expense of every other district in the state.
Lawmakers have worked for more than a year on education funding reform that would ensure every school district in Illinois receives the funding they need to ensure all our children receive a quality education.
And while it’s vital we fix the school-funding formula in Illinois, we must ensure the “fix” is fair.
I won’t support any plan that disproportionately benefits one school district over the other 851 school districts in Illinois, nor any plan that does not provide relief for our school districts from unfunded state mandates that our schools have been desperately calling for.
It’s truly unfortunate that party politics stand in the way of achieving real, much-needed reform for Illinois residents.
I remain committed to working with all parties to ensure we get the best deal possible for Illinois residents during the month of June as we go into overtime.
To act on legislation that’s incomplete, or not agreed upon, only fans the partisan flames burning under the Capitol dome. There is time to get this done if we all work together.
As we head into June, it’s especially important now to please send me your questions and conerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.