Legislative Update: May 14, 2019

Rep. Bourne Applauds Job Creators at Small Business Week Event in Litchfield

Last week was “Small Business Week” in Illinois, and I had an opportunity to speak with business and government leaders at the Business Appreciation Breakfast at Lincoln Land Community College in Litchfield. It was the 9th annual breakfast sponsored by the City of Litchfield and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, and I enjoyed hearing about the many successes of our local business community over the last year and sharing a legislative update on what to expect in the upcoming last days of our legislative session.

Small businesses are the primary job creators in our state, and promoting public policies that help these businesses achieve economic success is one of the keys to getting our state growing. However, while economic growth in the United States for the first quarter of 2019 was 2.2%, in Illinois the growth lagged at just 1.3%. We must do better to provide an environment where small businesses can thrive and grow.

House Republicans Renew Call for Bipartisan Negotiations for Balanced FY20 Budget

On Wednesday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Deputy Leaders Dan Brady and Tom Demmer held a press conference in Springfield to reiterate the need for bipartisan negotiations to pass a balanced Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget.

Last week we learned that April revenues were up by $1.5 billion more than what was expected and that FY20 estimated revenues were revised upwards by $800 million. In response, Leader Durkin said we now have the money to balance the FY20 budget without new taxes. Projections are showing that this year’s tax receipts will be the highest they have ever been in our state’s history. We must acknowledge these new numbers and refocus our budget discussions on the fact that we can balance next year’s budget without increasing taxes or fees. We are asking for a seat at the negotiation table, because when we work together in good faith we can reach consensus on good legislation, including budgets, that move our state forward. We did this for the FY19 budget and the result was a balanced budget with a projected surplus.

Rep. Bourn Meets with Local 4-H Students During 4-H Day at the State Capitol

On Wednesday and Thursday the halls of the Capitol were filled with hundreds of 4-H students from across the state who were in Springfield to talk with lawmakers about the importance of 4-H programs. Being a member of 4-H was a formative experience for me growing up and I am always glad to hear about how 4-H is impacting the lives of these young leaders. I’m shown here with Josh Rossi, Anthony Joiner, Kendall Knodle and Erin Kistner.

Senate Democrats Advance Graduated Income Tax Package

Prior to the announcement of the improved revenue outlook, Illinois Senate Democrats passed a graduated tax package that would increase taxes by more than $3.5 billion per year. The bills that advanced out of the Senate include legislation that would remove the flat income tax guarantee from the Illinois Constitution, and a bill that sets income tax brackets and rates for the first year.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

SJRCA 1, which was approved along party lines with all 19 Senate Republicans voting “no,” would remove the flat income tax requirement from the Illinois Constitution and provide that the General Assembly would set income tax rates. I am opposed to this constitutional change because our flat tax structure is an important taxpayer protection, which, if removed, would provide legislators with a much easier method by which they could raise taxes in the future. The Constitutional Amendment would not enshrine actual rates, thus eliminating any protections from tax hikes beyond year one.

GRADUATED INCOME TAX

Senate Bill 687 (approved 36-22) contains the new graduated income tax rates/brackets for the first year. In some cases, the rates are even higher than what was proposed by Governor Pritzker just two months ago. As approved, the Senate proposal raises the top income tax rate to 7.99% from 7.95% in Governor Pritzker’s proposal and kicks in for individual filers with income over $750,000 and joint filers with income over $1 million. The highest 7.99% tax rate would apply to all income. You can look at this as merely a “teaser rate”, because given the current appetite for spending in Springfield, it won’t be enough. The Governor has said that the measure will add $3.25 billion to revenue in its first year, but based upon the bills we’ve passed just this term, that money’s already been spent. The rates that we’re going to be asked to vote on as part of this package of bills will have to be raised by a large amount in the coming years.

Rep. Bourne Welcomes Girl Scouts to State Capitol, Encourages Them to “Dream Big”

Earlier this month I had the privilege of welcoming about 1,700 girl scouts from throughout Illinois to the State Capitol for Girl Scout Day 2019. I was delighted to see such a large gathering of future female leaders, and it was an honor to talk with them about the importance of dreaming big and not listening to the voices who would try to steer them away from seeking important leadership roles in their communities, state and nation.

I even had a chance to catch up with some local Girl Scouts including these ladies from Carlinville. Click here to listen to my welcome speech.

Bourne Co-Sponsors Legislation to Require Supermajority Vote to Raise Income Taxes

Last week I joined about 30 of my House Republican colleagues in sponsoring HJRCA 34, which would mandate 2/3 approval from lawmakers to raise income taxes on Illinoisans. The legislation would become especially critical if the effort to eliminate Illinois’ flat income tax is replaced by a graduated tax system.

HJRCA 34 would provide an important layer of protection for taxpayers because it would make it harder for legislators to raise the income tax. While a supermajority vote is needed to change the Constitution for a graduated tax structure, once it is in place only a simply majority vote would be required to raise the rates.

House Democrats Advance $2.4 Billion in Tax and Fee Increases to Fund Transportation Infrastructure
On Thursday, Democratic members of the House Revenue & Finance Committee advanced an amendment (on a partisan roll call) to the full House that would raise the gas tax and related fees by $2.4 billion to fund transportation infrastructure needs.

House Amendment #1 to HB 391 would provide funding for “horizontal” capital, i.e. roads and bridges. It is important to note that this bill has not been negotiated or agreed to by all parties involved and does not represent a finalized capital infrastructure funding plan.

The major revenue components contained within HB 391 include increasing the motor fuel tax by 25 cents (a 132% increase) and increasing vehicle registration fees by $50 (a 51% increase). Together with the other tax and fee increases outlined below, HB 391 would bring in approximately $2.4 billion in annual funding for transportation infrastructure.

Revenue Sources Existing Rate Proposed Increase Proposed New Rate New Revenue From Proposed Rate
Motor Fuel Tax        
Gasoline $0.190 $0.250 $0.440 $1,220,774,529
Special Fuels $0.215 $0.305 $0.520 $478,060,849
Passenger Vehicle Registration Fees        
Passenger Vehicles & B- Trucks  $98.00 $50.00 $148 $450,105,190
Electric Vehicles $17.50 $982.50 $1,000.00 $8,110,538
Truck Registration Fees        
Flat Weight Trucks- Lower Limit $138.00 $100.00 $238.00 $21,103,700
Flat Weight Trucks- Upper Limit $2,790.00 $100.00 2,890.00  
Flat Weight Trailers- Lower Limit $54.00 $100.00 $154.00 $23,760,700
Flat Weight Trailers- Upper Limit $1,502.00 $100.00 $1,602.00  
Mileage Tax Registrations- Lower Limit $73.00 $100.00 $173.00 $1,006,400
Mileage Tax Registrations- Upper Limit $1,415.00 $100.00 $1,515.00  
Farm Trucks- Lower Limit $150.00 $100.00 $250.00 $2,411,200
Farm Trucks- Upper Limit $1,490.00 $100.00 $1,590.00  
Farm Trailers- Lower Limit $60.00 $100.00 $160.00 $1,325,900
Farm Trailers- Upper Limit $650.00 $100.00 $750.00  
Drivers’ License Fees        
Class D- Original License $30.00 $30.00 $60.00 $2,490,535.00
Class D- Age 18-20 $5.00 $5.00 $10.00 $399,325.00
Class D- Age 21-68 $30.00 $30.00 $60.00 $60,287,065.00
Class D- Age 69-80 $5.00 $5.00 $10.00 $980,925.00
Certificate of Titles        
  $95.00 $60.00 $155.00 $170,065,160.00
      Total $2,440,882,015.00

Bourne Celebrates “Tech Day” with Students from 95th District

Last Tuesday, hundreds of students from across the state spent the day in Springfield for TECH Day 2019, where they showcased projects that illustrate the critical role technology plays in today’s educational environment. Technology is a vital tool that helps prepare students to succeed in the digital world that awaits them when they enter the workforce. The projects on display at the Capitol demonstrated innovative uses of technology and exciting new ways for students to learn. It was clear from visiting with the students and teachers from Pana and Taylorville that technology expands the boundaries of classroom learning, while allowing students to refine collaboration and critical thinking skills. I was truly impressed with the quality of the work on display. 

Rep. Bourne’s Summer Reading Program Keeps Children Engaged During Summer Break

As schools and families throughout the 95th District prepare for the end of the school year, I will once again be hosting a Summer Reading Program for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. Those who achieve the summer reading goal of reading eight or more books will be invited to attend a fall reading celebration party.

Reading is an important part of everyday life and reading over the summer keeps minds sharp and takes kids on amazing adventures right in the comfort of their own homes. Many students will receive reading logs at school prior to the end of the school year. The log is also available through my web site (repbourne.com) and at this link.

Traveling Office Hours Available Monthly in 95th District

The 95th District is geographically quite large, and I recognize that my Litchfield office is not convenient for all of my constituents. In an effort to make the resources of my legislative office more broadly available, each month a member of my staff holds traveling office hours. Those who attend these traveling office hours can learn about the services my office can provide and receive assistance with issues regarding state agencies. I will attend personally as my schedule permits.

Last week we held traveling office hours in Carlinville, and on Tuesday, May 21 my staff will be available from 10:30 AM until 1:00 PM at the office of Congressman Rodney Davis, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R. Future traveling office hours dates and locations will be posted on my web site at repbourne.com.  Stop by and say hello and learn about the services available through my office.