House Dems rush to offer tax cuts before session ends

Included in the House Democrats’ proposal is a permanent expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit that would cost the state an estimated $103.5 million. Most of the hike would come by expanding eligibility to those aged 18 to 24 and over.
Also included in the Democrats’ plan is an additional $100 million state aid to municipalities by partially restoring cuts in earlier years made the cut cities and villages automatically get of Illinois income-tax receipts. The municipalities want more – they say they’re owed $1 billion, and are asking for $500 million now – but it’s the first time they’ve gotten this far in many years.
House Democrats also proposed a one-time $165 million low-income family tax rebate that would send every eligible filer $100 plus $50 per child in their household. That’s a much-truncated version of the $1 billion Senate Democrats  had proposed to offer almost all taxpayers, not just low-income ones, the promised $100 check.
In both plans are a version of Pritzker’s temporary suspension of a 2-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax, as well as his proposal to double the homeowner’s rebate on the income tax.
In comments at a press event today, Pritzker suggested he likes the House version better than the Senate version – in part because his numbers crunchers say the Senate plan would endanger his plans to stash $800 million in the state’s rainy-day cash fund and make an extra $500 million in payments into the state’s underfunded pension funds.
“I’m certainly pleased to see more ideas in the mix to cut taxes and help working- class people,” Pritzker said, declaring the earned income-tax proposal “reasonable.” His only implied criticism was about increased help for municipalities, which is said may not be affordable.
Pritkzer had hedged his original, $1 billion tax cut on surprisingly strong state revenues, something he said could justify temporary cuts. Since then, the legislature’s fiscal unit, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, has boosted its revenue estimates $500 million higher.
House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon are scheduled to meet today to talk a compromise deal. I’m not sure yet whether Pritzker will be in that session, but overall the numbers may be close enough that all sides can quickly work out a deal and get out of Springfield by the scheduled April 8 adjournment date.
In the meantime, neither side’s package has been put to vote yet. Instead, they’ve offered bargaining positions.
Also tucked in the House Democrats’ proposal is something likely to clear the Senate: more money for public safety, something that would help blunt Republican attacks that, at a time when crime rates are rising, Democrats are anti-police.
Included is $124 million more for body cameras, ballistics testing and law-enforcement retention grants, $48 million to provide summer jobs and other outlets for youths who otherwise might be prone to car-jacking, and $50 million for domestic violence prevention. 
It’s not clear how much the Democratic-dominated Assembly will do to raise penalties on convicted criminals, though bills dealing with organized retail theft and car-jacking have been introduced.    


via Crain’s Chicago Business

April 6, 2022 at 12:46PM

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