Advocates of tax increases assert that existing Illinois motor fuel taxes do not raise enough money to enable the timely rebuilding and reconstruction of roads and bridges in the state. The Cullerton proposalwould have strongly encouraged Illinois drivers to accept the placement of an electronic mileage counter or transponder on their vehicles, which could be used by authorities to count miles driven. Under one tax contract that drivers would have been encouraged to choose, the mileage counter/transponder would have told authorities where the motor vehicle was at all times. The state’s 19-cents-per-gallon tax rate on motor fuel was last increased 25 years ago, in 1991. Other proposals still on the table call for increasing this conventional tax by levels up to 30 additional cents per gallon in Illinois.
HJRCA 5, a proposed Constitutional amendment sponsored by Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), authorizes the people of Illinois to vote in November on abolishing the office of the Lieutenant Governor. If the amendment is approved, the elected Attorney General (who is the person next in line under existing law) would become the successor to the Governor. The measure was approved by the House on April 22. The bipartisan 95-10 vote to approve HJRCA 5 sent the measure to the Senate for further consideration and debate.
Advocates for the graduated income tax proposal claim that the tax would raise an additional $1.9 billion in new state revenue. The proposal, floated by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), was introduced in the House as House Bill 689. The state Constitution requires that individual income taxes must be imposed at a “non-graduated rate,” and the Lang proposal would require that an amendment be approved by voters to change or repeal this mandate.
HJRCA 59, a newly-filed constitutional amendment, was approved by the Executive Committee on a partisan roll call on April 21. House Republicans voted against the proposed amendment. If adopted by both houses of the General Assembly, the amendment would submit to the voters the question of repealing the current flat tax mandate.
Like the amendment to abolish the Lieutenant Governor’s office, this proposal is now in the hands of the Senate.
The House was in recess this week, but will be back in action May 3-5. More than 300 bills have come over from the Senate so far this year, and we will begin considering them in the House this coming week. The Senate will also be back in Springfield starting on Tuesday. Any proposed Constitutional amendments will have to be passed by both houses by Friday in order to appear on the November ballot for ratification.
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