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Legislative update 6.12.15

6/12/2015
BREAKING: In the latest demonstration of his out-of-touch priorities, Governor Rauner just announced a second round of drastic cuts to critical programs if legislators don’t accept his extreme conditions for a budget deal before June 30. Rather than make the wealthiest Illinoisans or corporations pay a dime more or consider other revenue options to close budget gaps, the Governor's drastic cuts make it clear once again that average Illinois families and needy citizens are not important to him. Read the full list of cuts on Capitol Fax.


In the absence of a state budget, the House and Senate convened on Tuesday this week to continue discussions on various topics, including property tax freeze legislation. 

House and Senate consider property tax freeze bills
In response to the Governor’s demands that lawmakers take up his “turnaround” agenda before he will negotiate a budget deal, lawmakers in both chambers addressed proposals that would freeze property taxes at 2015 levels.
 
The Senate convened a Committee of the Whole to hear from witnesses about the dangerous implications of a freeze, and the House considered two proposals that would have further harmed already cash-strapped school districts. IFT worked to help defeat these proposals:

HB 690, sponsored by Rep. Franks (D-Woodstock), would prohibit any property tax increase unless it is approved by local voters. Currently, counties subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) are limited to increases in the rate-of-inflation or 5 percent, whichever is less. Counties not under PTELL have no such limitations. The bill failed by a vote of 41-23-34.
 
HB 691, sponsored by Rep. Bradley (D-Marion) and as amended by Amendment #1, is similar to HB 690, except that it would apply to home rule units of government. House Amendment #2 to HB 691 is identical to SB 1046, sponsored by Sen. Radogno (R- Lemont), and includes some of the most harmful aspects of Governor Rauner's “turnaround” agenda. Both amendments failed to pass.


Budget battle continues
Little progress has been made on the budget front. The Comptroller this week announced that most state payments will halt if a budget is not in place by July 1. The state can continue cutting checks to cover debt service payments, pension contributions, and retiree benefits after that date, but state employees may miss paychecks, non-profits and businesses that work with the state would not be paid, and school aid payments due on August 10 would be delayed.


A look ahead
Lawmakers in both chambers are scheduled to return to Springfield on Tuesday, June 16. The Senate has scheduled a Committee of the Whole to discuss college affordability. The House has not announced what issues it plans to take up.

Visit Under the Dome weekly for the latest updates on legislative action throughout the summer.
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