SPRINGFIELD – The 101st General Assembly of Illinois has taken historic measures ranging from passing laws to removing bail prior to the first election of a Black House spokesman.
However, lawmakers ran out of time for several follow-up actions – including bills that would have expanded voting via email, allowing lawmakers to do business remotely during the pandemic, and removing newly expanded income tax deductions for entrepreneurs. Another bill introducing the state’s legalization of adult marijuana was also not passed, as was a measure that was part of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ health agenda.
The House Democrats fell 10 votes behind passing a bill approved by Governor JB Pritzker that would have eliminated certain tax deductions for Illinois entrepreneurs created under CARES federal law. Pritzker has argued that this change is needed to prevent revenue from shrinking more than $ 500 million in the current fiscal year, adding to the state’s budget deficit of $ 3.9 billion.
In particular, the bill would end the amendments to the CARES Act that would allow extended business owner income deductions to be claimed as net operating losses, repatriation losses, or excessive business losses.
In a January 8 press release, Pritzker encouraged the General Assembly to “decouple” the Illinois tax law from federal tax changes under the CARES Act, a move that would have brought state tax laws in line with previous years.
Pritzker claimed these changes would generate $ 500 million in state tax revenue. During the House Floor debate on January 13th, lawmakers from both parties described the bill as receiving up to $ 1 billion in government revenue.
Democratic MP Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, the sponsor of the law, said the proposed changes would affect about 440,000 taxpayers across the state.
Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, was shown on the floor of the house at the Bank of Springfield Center on Jan. 13 during the debate. The bill would have eliminated tax deductions for Illinois entrepreneurs created under the Federal CARES Act. This law was one of several important measures that were not passed during the 101st General Assembly.
Despite Zalewski’s appeals, 10 House Democrats were in attendance while another eight did not vote on the bill, including former House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago and newly elected Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside.
At least a dozen Republicans condemned the proposal as a last-minute tax hike for small business owners already crushed by the pandemic.
During the House floor debate, Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield said the bill was in line with the tax hike that Republican lawmakers had expected.
“This is the textbook definition of a tax hike at night that nobody is watching, the lame duck. That’s what people hate, ”he said.
Zalewski described the proposal as an attempt to prevent loss of revenue rather than an attempt to generate new income.
House Republicans also criticized the Pritzker administration and the Illinois Treasury Department for failing to inform taxpayers or lawmakers sooner of the state’s plans to decouple from the federal changes made in March.
During a press conference on Friday, Pritzker said he expected lawmakers to bring the proposal back at the 102nd General Assembly.
Remote voting, more
The remote voting bill, passed unanimously by the Senate, would have allowed the House and Senate to act during a public health emergency where “personal participation is a significant risk to the health and safety” of lawmakers to meet remotely and cast votes staff or the public.
The Senate changed its rules during the brief May session to allow for remote hearing, but the House failed to pass similar changes. Two lawmakers voted remotely in the Lame Duck session.
Both chambers released tentative calendars last week stating that they should meet in person several days a month through May.
Since the March 2020 Illinois pandemic, Members of the House met briefly at the Bank of Springfield Center the following May and earlier this month, while the Senate continued at the Capitol for those brief sessions.
The bill by postal vote, which the Senate passed by 40 to 18 votes, would have implemented some changes permanently in response to the pandemic for the 2020 parliamentary elections. This would have included the use of drop box sites to collect postage-free ballot papers and roadside voting during early voting or on election day.
Meanwhile, House passed Bill 122, which, among other things, would have added another round of 75 marijuana pharmacy licenses, but neither received a vote in House.
Senate Act 558, which was a sweeping law comprised of several Black Caucus-sponsored health reforms, was passed by parliament but received no Senate vote.
Contact Sarah Mansur at [email protected]. Capitol News Illinois is a non-profit, impartial news service that covers state government and is distributed to more than 400 newspapers nationwide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.