Last week, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch appeared to pour cold water on the idea of boosting the cut of state income tax receipts that goes to municipalities, the so-called local distributive share. Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson and his peers all over the state could surely use the cash, but a big growth in insurance costs for undocumented immigrants is into the hundreds of millions and could eat up what’s available, some sources report.
Another item on Johnson’s wish list, a measure to allow the city to raise its real estate transfer tax, a.k.a. the somewhat misnamed “mansion tax,” likely will wait until at least the fall, I’m told. But picking up steam is the idea of spending more in both federal and state funds to feed and house the increasing number of immigrants that are beginning to overwhelm City Hall.
(Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Sunday wrote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and asked him to pause sending more immigrants here, terming such busing “inhumane” and asserting that the arrival of more than 8,000 immigrants since August has maxed out the city’s resources. Texas should lose its FEMA funding if Abbott refuses, she wrote.)
Action on any of the bills to subsidize a Bears stadium in Arlington Heights appears to be a long shot right now. Ditto something to help the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace with a looming fiscal cliff, though the New York Legislature just approved a payroll tax hike to subsidize its transit.
One bill worth watching that you haven’t heard much about: Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s request to convert the state’s Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) insurance exchange from federal to state control. That would allow the state to, for instance, guarantee coverage for abortion and birth control if the White House were to flip back to Republicans.
Meanwhile, Team Pritzker is pushing back hard on a nasty, rather personal Wall Street Journal editorial about the loss of high-income residents that IRS data says is occurring here and in other big blue states. The data is flawed because it’s based on where people file rather than where they earn income, says a spokeswoman, and could be as off-base as earlier federal estimates that Illinois’ population dropped in the past decade when, in fact, it likely rose.
I’ll take a wild guess here, but I suspect the editorial might just have something to do with Pritzker’s possible future presidential ambitions.
At City Hall, look for more news on how Johnson will fill out his administration this week.
Johnson did add some members to his transition subcommittee on Economic Vitality and Equity. There still is no leader of a major business group but among those named Sunday morning as members (not co-chairs) are financiers Michael Sacks and John Rogers, former city zoning administrator Graham Grady and Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi.
And U.S. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Mn., is due to hit town Tuesday for a fundraiser for the Illinois Republican Party. There, he’s expected to give an update on the looming standoff with President Joe Biden over how to finance the national debt and whether to tie an increase to guaranteed cuts in spending, most of them covering programs that are very popular with Democrats.
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May 1, 2023 at 06:59AM