The legislature will return to action on Tuesday for what’s looking like an intense and hectic five weeks. Legislators have been back home, working in their districts since the legislative spring break kicked off on Friday April 12th.
The two weeks we spend back in our district offices during breaks like these provide great opportunities to attend district events, and to host town hall and listening tour events like the one I held this past Monday in Murphysboro.
I was glad to see around 50 folks from the community come out to hear a legislative update and a presentation on Governor Pritzker’s proposal to open the Constitution to add language to allow for a graduated income tax. For the record, and for any one that may still have doubts about my position on the Governor’s plan, let me say this: I will be VOTING NO on Governor Pritzker’s progressive income tax hike. In fact, two months ago I signed on to co-sponsor HR 153, which states my total opposition to the Governor’s plan to raise taxes.
As written, SJRCA 1 gives the legislature a blank check to raise taxes any time to any level they wish. As you may know, Illinois has been a pathetic actor when it comes to effectively using taxpayers money. Illinois currently ranks 51st out of the 50 states and Washington D.C. when it comes to who pays the most in state and local taxes. You can read the WalletHub.com study by clicking here.
Illinois is in the top 5 states consistently for the outmigration of its citizens. We lost 45,000 residents just last year. Our state’s operating budget deficit according to the Governor’s office is more than $3 billion for next fiscal year. On top of that, our pension debt obligations are far north of $100 billion, and our bill backlog stills stands at $6,926,863,813.10
Taking all of those numbers into consideration, take a look at the Pritzker administrations’ proposals to ‘fix’ our financial condition.
- Skip out on paying a required payment of $900 million into the pension system
- Decouple from the Federal Repatriation Credit – $94 million
- Tax E-Cigarettes at 36% of the wholesale price – $10 million
- Increasing the Cigarette Tax from $1.98 to $2.30 per pack – $55 million
- Health insurance plan tax- $390 million
- Creating a Progressive Tax Structure for Video Gaming – $89 million
- Cap the Retailers Discount at $1,000 per month- $75 million
- Sports Wagering Tax – 20 total licenses at a 20% tax rate – $212 million (new program, new bureaucracy)
- Recreational Cannabis Tax – $170 million (new program, new bureaucracy)
- Plastic Bag Tax – 5 cents per bag – $20 million
- Phasing-out the Private School Scholarship Credit – $6 million
If you were counting, Governor Pritzker’s plan relies on the legislature to either create or raise 7 different sales taxes before May 31st!
Going forward, the Governor wants to change the Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax that will hike taxes on small businesses and families making more than $250,000 per year. The Governor’s appetite to raise taxes and expand the size of government seems to be insatiable.
As your State Representative, I believe Illinois must go in a different direction. We have to GROW if we are going to dig out of the financial hole that we’re in. We must pass badly needed reforms to both our political and economic systems. We must reform our workers’ compensation laws, our tort liability laws, and pass good-government policies like term limits and fairly drawn legislative maps. We must restore faith in our institutions and work to end government corruption if we are to ever return our state to be the economic powerhouse that it can be.
Rep. Bryant Offers Condolences, Praise for Late Marion Mayor Bob Butler
Murphysboro….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) issued the following statement Monday morning upon learning of the death of long-time Marion Mayor Bob Butler.
“To say Mayor Butler was a giant in the world of Southern Illinois politics would be an understatement,” Bryant said. “Bob Butler, or just ‘Mayor’, as so many fellow Southern Illinoisans knew him, was a tenacious and dedicated public servant. He gave so much of his life to bettering Marion, and because of his hard working during more than 50 years of service, the entire region is better off. My thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to the people of Marion, and most especially to Mayor Butler’s friends and family on his passing today.”
Murphysboro….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) announced this week her re-appointment by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to the Illinois Clean Coal Review Board.
In January 2000, Southern Illinois University established the Clean Coal Review Board after receiving a $25 million grant from Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison following the energy giant’s sale of all of its fossil fuel operated power plants. Bryant says she is proud to serve on the board, and hopes she can be a part of a coal-based economic revolution in Southern Illinois.
“The potential for Illinois to be a net energy exporter is literally right under our feet,” Bryant said. “Clean coal energy research is essential to returning Illinois to a position of economic power and to become a leading state in clean coal technology. My energy philosophy is an ‘all of the above approach’, and I believe Illinois coal must be part of our energy blueprint for the future.”
According to the Clean Coal Review Board’s website, the CCRB’s mission is to “contribute to the new growth of the Illinois coal industry through the application of advanced technologies and practices in new or existing facilities in the State of Illinois.”
WJPF Radio Interview – Monday April 22
In case you missed it, I joined Tom Miller on WJPF radio on Monday to preview the Murphysboro Town Hall meeting and to talk about the latest happenings in Illinois. Click here to listen in!
Quick Shots -Lots of Action in the 115th District!
There are several major issues left to be resolved in the remaining weeks ahead of the House’s scheduled May 31 adjournment.
As I discussed in my opening, both the House and Senate must deal with the Governor’s proposed Constitutional Amendment to institute a progressive income tax. There is also the matter of addressing the Governor’s proposals to raise taxes on plastic bags, insurance plans, online betting, e-cigarettes, and cigarettes. Legislation to legalize/not legalize cannabis for adult recreational use.
There are also rumors that a capital infrastructure plan to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges, schools, and water treatment facilities across the State could be on the horizon. Also, there is the issue of passing a balanced budget that spends more than 36.5 billion dollars.
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Tuesday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Wednesday and Fridays from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. You can also contact me directly through the Contact Form on my website at www.repbryant.com or at email@example.com